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Are you having trouble sleeping at night? If so I have a question for you.
Would you say you’re someone that just has to have another last look at your phone before you turn the lights off?
Is the temptation to have one last look just too much? And if so, could this be why you’re having trouble sleeping?
Blue light from your phone is why you’re having trouble sleeping at night
But what is blue light?
Blue light is the light emitted by many personal electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. It’s called ‘blue light’ because the light emitted is ‘short wave enriched’. This means that it has a higher concentration of blue light when compared to natural light.
And unfortunately it’s this blue light that is negatively affecting your health.
More specifically the blue light from your devices affects the levels of the hormone melatonin. This in turn ends up affecting your sleep patterns.
Sleep, melatonin and your circadian rhythm
Blue light actually tricks your brains into thinking its daytime.
Unfortunately when you check your phone before bed, or stay up late to finish off emails, it can disrupt the brains natural sleep-wake cycles (known as your circadian rhythm).
What you may be surprised to know is that during the day the blue light from your devices can actually be a good thing, helping to boost attention and focus. But once the sun goes down be warned.
Once upon a time we lived in a world where once the sun went down there was no more light. But now we function in a world where light is available 24/7, and it’s seriously impacting our health.
The impact of blue light on your sleep
My own personal experiences with blue light from my laptop were noticeable. If I had been on my computer checking emails before I went to bed, it used to take me a long time to fall asleep. Not only did it impact my sleep, it impacted my energy levels the next day too. It was only once I understood this link that my sleep patterns returned to normal.
It’s not just your sleep quality that is affected.
In a study by Harvard Medical School, disruption to your circadian rhythm can affect your blood sugar and even your levels of leptin – the hormone which is responsible for feeling full after eating a meal. And then there are the knock on effects of poor sleep such as a weaker immune system.
The steps you can tack to take to improve your sleep
Blue light before bed is clearly not a great.Therefore the number one thing that you can do to improve your sleep is to break the habit of checking your phone or computer before bedtime.
Facebook and emails can all wait until the morning (trust me they can!). And without sounding like too much of a killjoy your sleep should be upped on the priority list.
As a general rule aim to avoid using your device 2-3 hours before bed to give your body time to adjust.
If that’s not possible, aim for at least an hour before bed. You could also consider wearing blue-blocking glasses, or installing an app that filters the blue wavelength if working late is unavoidable.
In my own life this has made a big difference, and I would absolutely recommend cutting back before bed time.