Like many people, I find it difficult to keep up with a regular nightly routine. Depending on what plans I may have for the evening, going to bed can look different most nights. Despite this, I do try to keep a few things constant before I go to bed. After dinner I’ll typically enjoy an evening on the couch catching up on the latest show I've been binge watching. Even after heading to bed, I may stay on my phone for a while before I put it down to go to sleep. I didn’t realize that my sleep was being impacted by blue light until I spoke with a doctor.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is the most common form of light that we’re exposed to on a regular basis. Blue light wavelengths can come from a few sources, the most common one being sunlight. When we’re exposed to sunlight, we absorb the blue light that comes from the sun without even looking at it directly. Another common source of blue light comes from electronics like televisions, smart phones, and smart watches. Contact with this type of light is common, and not necessarily bad.
How Does it Impact me?
The impact from blue light isn't always negative. The wavelengths that come from blue light boost mood, attention, and reaction time. This might be why I always feel more attentive when I’m outside, and probably contributes to the nights I sleep poorly. Our bodies naturally produces melatonin, the chemical in our brain that makes us tired. The consumption of blue light impacts our bodies production of melatonin, causing our bodies to stay alert instead of getting tired. The amount of blue light you absorb before going to bed may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
How Do I Cut Back on Blue Light?
Obviously, we can't eliminate blue light from our lives entirely, however there are ways to manage how much of it we absorb. There are 3 popular solutions that you can use to help manage your blue light consumption.
Blue Light Glasses
The first solution - purchase blue light glasses. Wearing these glasses protects your eyes by filtering out the blue light that comes from television or computer screens. These glasses are easily available through online retail sites, or you can ask an optometrist to add blue light lenses to your current pair of glasses.
Limit Device Use in the Evening
The second option is simple. Limit the amount of time you spend on devices in the evening or turn them all off completely. This will allow your body to produce the melatonin it needs to help you drift off to sleep. Instead of using your devices, find other ways to wind down before bed. Relaxing activities like meditating, reading, or taking a warm shower can help your body and mind prepare for rest.
Disable Blue Light on Your Phone
Many people find it hard to part with technology, even when it's time to go to bed. Don’t worry, I find myself in the same boat and have a solution for you. The third option is to disable blue light from your screens. Some new smart devices come with an option in the settings to turn off blue light or turn it off at a scheduled time. Even my TV has a nighttime mode! Personally, I set up my phone to enable a “bedtime” mode at a specific time each night. This mode silences my notifications and minimizes the notifications on my lock screen so it's not as tempting to check my phone. It also turns on my alarm for work in the morning and turns off the blue light from my phone. While in this mode, my screen dims the light on my phone and displays colors differently. I have an iPhone, so your phone may not have a blue light setting or could be different from mine. If you're interested in this, check the settings in your phone or search online to see if it can be disabled on your device.
Whether you're trying to improve your eyes or your sleep, reducing blue light is a good way to start. I found that the less time I spend watching tv or my phone in the evening, the easier it is to fall asleep. Let us know if you use blue light glasses or adjust your phone’s display settings by reaching out to us on social media
Leighanne is the marketing intern at SleepGeekz. When she's not learning about all things sleep-related, she loves to spend her days reading and going on walks with her dogs. Leighanne hopes to one day travel around the world and write about her experiences.