Blue Light at Night

Why do people have such a hard time sleeping at night?  Why do we have such a hard time unwinding?  A lot of it has to do with the amount of time that people are spending on their screens.  The screens can be any type of electronic screen, which includes t.v.s, smartphones, tablets, anything that is a source of artificial light.  Why does this matter so much when we are trying to get some sleep?

The answer is because we rely on melatonin to regulate our circadian rhythms.  These are the rhythms that tell us when it’s day and when it’s night so that our bodies can figure out when they need to sleep.  A common solution for having trouble sleeping is to watch tv in the background or read a book on a smartphone, but actually, this will give you the opposite affect.

 Why is blue light so bad at night?

It completely disrupts the production of melatonin.  This means your body really doesn’t know what time it is or what it should be doing.  But what’s the deal with blue light, why doesn’t all light affect it the same way?

The wavelength of blue light is different than other light.  Blue light has a shorter wavelength and so it strains the eyes more.  It also directly makes your melatonin production go lower than it should be.  There are tiny receptors in the eye that can be damaged by blue light as well, and this makes it difficult for them to help tell our body when it’s time to sleep.  They also influence telling the brain when it is time to sleep.

How do you workaround these changes which make it so difficult for the body to know what time it is?

You can avoid blue light or use blue light blocking devices.  Other solutions include changing the devices to be on the nighttime setting which uses amber light.  Amber light blocks blue light production and gives off a nice illumination without you having to worry about blue light disrupting anything.  Sometimes it is impossible to get away from the screens or our habits with them, so these solutions come in really handy.

Before you choose to supplement with melatonin or take a sleeping pill, remember that you can control a lot of how your body is responding to the patterns of night by just altering a few things.