What is blue light? Is it ruining your sleep?
Are you one of those people who stare at their phone screen late at night and then wonders why you can’t get to sleep?
Don’t worry, we’ve found the culprit… blame the blue light!
What actually is blue light?
“Blue light” is a type of shortwave light that helps us gain energy and keeps you alert. It is found everywhere during the day but it’s the artificial “blue light” at times when your brain is trying to wind down that could be an affecting your sleep.
How does blue light affect my sleep?
Melatonin, also known as the sleep-inducing hormone in our bodies is what helps us regulate sleep and wakefulness. However, the blue light emitted from our mobile-phone screens is the reason why we struggle to get to sleep at night.
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan explains: “Screens on our phones and tablets emit blue light which suppress the production of melatonin from the brain’s pineal gland and stimulates the production of the chemical dopamine which makes us feel alert and ‘switched on.”
In other words… the blue light makes you feel more active, alert and therefore, keeps you awake. Blue is also the colour of the sky during the day so when we this lit up at night on our devices, it’s easy for our brains to be tricked into thinking it’s not time for bed when it really is.
If you find yourself on social media applications and sites for longer than expected too, it may be due to the design. Facebook and Twitter both have blue as their primary colour. This may not have been linked to alertness when they were designed. However, it can contribute to brain stimulation and keep us awake.
Ways to solve this and help you to get to sleep quicker?
1) Put down your device an hour before bed:
Dr Nerina advises that we should have an electronic sundown 1 hour before bed as our energy tends to run in 60-90 minute cycles so the cycle before going to bed is absolutely vital.
2) Reduce Caffeine intake:
Avoid taking any caffeine after 3pm, from sugary drinks to coffees, this will improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
3) Create a sleep sanctuary:
Replace the blue light with other calming sights as watching TV and surfing the net isn’t conductive to getting peaceful deep sleep. Nerina stresses that we use our “unique senses to work out what is the right thing for you.”
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