All light represses the release of melatonin but blue light is especially damaging. Blue light affects both the quality of sleep and can potentially cause disease. Blue light affects sleep by delaying the release of melatonin, resets the body’s internal clock, and increases attentiveness.
Blue Light Exposure
What is Blue Light?
Blue light has some beneficial uses when used during the day. Blue light can increase reaction time, attention, and mood. When the blue light is used at night, it disrupts sleep. Electronic devices such as computers, phones, tablets as well as energy-efficient lighting can cause exposure to blue light.
Is Exposure to Light At Night Bad For Your Sleep?
Many years ago the source of light used by most individuals was the sun. Most people spend their evenings in darkness until artificial light was introduced. Now with artificial light being used especially at night, the circadian rhythm is out of balance. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock that controls the sleep-wake cycles. When the circadian rhythm is not in balance this results in poor sleep. Every individual has a different circadian rhythm. The average circadian rhythm is 24 and 1/4 hours.
Even dim light can affect the body’s circadian rhythm. Just 8 lux levels of light, the level of brightness by most table lamps and twice as much as a night lamp, can have an effect on the body’s ability to release melatonin.
Studies have shown that inadequate sleep may contribute to a number of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. A Harvard study reveals a connection between diabetes and possibly obesity. Ten people were put on a schedule that gradually changed their inner body clock. The study showed that blood sugar levels increased and the level of leptin decreased. Leptin is a hormone that leaves a person feeling full after eating a meal.
A study done by Harvard researchers was done comparing blue light and green light wavelengths on the secretion of melatonin in the body. In the study, it was found that after being exposed to 6.5 hours of both lights melatonin was suppressed twice as long from the blue light exposure and the circadian rhythm changed twice as much.
Exposure to LED Blue Lights
Energy-efficient lighting could be a cause for concern for personal health. Blue light can have an impact on a person’s health as well as impact the environment.
Compact fluorescent and LED lights are more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs but they emit more blue light. The mechanics of fluorescent lighting can not be changed but the coating of the bulbs can be. made to produce less blue warmer light. LED lights are more efficient than fluorescent lighting but produce more blue light. incandescent lights have less blue light than most fluorescent lighting.
Blue Light Filters
There are some things a person can do to protect and filter blue light. Try the following tips to filter any blue light:
Use dim lights
Try using a red light – red light proven not to change the circadian rhythm and studies have shown that exposure to red light can improve the quality of your sleep.
About 2 to 3 hours before sleep avoid looking at any electronic screens
Consider using blue-blocking glasses or an app for your electronic device to filter blue light
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