Sleep plays a vital role in your health. A good night’s sleep is as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you want to improve your health and maintain your sleep, make sure you learn about the harmful light emitted from various fixtures in your home and the digital devices you use for entrainment and work.
Light from your window, fluorescent light tubes or bulbs, and blue light from your smartphone, computer, and tablet can interrupt your sleep. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on bedtime habits and implement healthy ways to mitigate the harmful effects of visible blue light spectrums.
Make Your Bedroom Dark
If external light comes into the room through the window, it will affect your sleep. We recommend installing dark shades or curtains to prevent the light from coming inside your bedroom. If you wake up at night to use your restroom, you can turn on a small night light to avoid falls and accidents.
Switch Off the Lights
Most homeowners have installed LED and fluorescent light bulbs to save energy and reduce electricity bills. However, these bulbs can take a massive toll on your eyes and sleep, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Therefore, turning off the light to make your bedroom completely dark is an excellent way to promote a good night’s sleep.
Read a Book before Sleep
Reading a book at bedtime can relax your mind and lead to deeper sleep. However, reading a book before bed is not a practical approach for people with insomnia or related symptoms. Spending time in bed reading a book or watching TV when you feel sleepy can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Therefore, stop reading the book and go to sleep when you feel tired.
Avoid Higher Light Levels
Research shows that light levels and different wavelengths can affect your sleep. For example, higher light levels measured in lux can reduce melatonin production and disrupt your biological clock. For example, shorter wavelengths of light emitted from the light bulbs in your room can disturb your circadian rhythm.
Likewise, we recommend avoiding LED lights in your bedroom. Although LED lights are highly energy efficient, they can produce visible light of a shorter wavelength, leading to disrupted sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel tired. Remember, this can take a toll on your cognitive and memory function and decrease your productivity.
Does Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?
Sunlight is the biggest source of blue light and other radiations or wavelengths: people who protect their eyes from blue light penetration sleep better and have better cognitive and memory functions.
Studies show that natural and artificial light can improve your mental health, but you must absorb it during the daytime. On the other hand, when you fail to switch off lights at night, you will have disrupted sleep because blue light can affect your brain function.
The human eyes do not have effective structures to block or filter blue light. Unlike UV light blocked by your eyes, blue light can enter your retina and cause macular degeneration. Your eyes can’t block blue light, meaning it can pass through the cornea and lens to reach your retinal cells.
Exposure to different wavelengths of visible light can regulate your natural sleep-wake, also known as the biological clock or circadian rhythm. Blue light can mess with your brain’s ability to produce melatonin, leading to disrupted sleep at night. Therefore, it is crucial to switch off your lights when going to sleep.
What are the Sources of Blue Light?
Studies show that people in the U.S spend at least 7 hours a day using digital devices. That’s a lot of time using a digital device because you absorb too much blue light. About nine in ten people in the U.S use digital devices before bedtime. Therefore, many people suffer from chronic illnesses, such as insomnia, obesity, stress, and depression.
The light from your digital device usually appears white, but it gives off different wavelengths ranging between 400nm and 490nm. Some sources of blue light are TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, computer monitors, LED lights, and fluorescent light bulbs.
How to Reduce Blue Light Exposure
The best way to lower blue light exposure is to turn off the lights in your bedroom before going to sleep. Likewise, we recommend turning off your smartphone at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. Otherwise, the blue light emitted from these screens will disrupt your melatonin production, leading to insomniac episodes.
We recommend cutting back on screen time and dimming the brightness of your digital device. For instance, you can use a dark mode or night mode on your device when using different apps like Twitter.
If you use a smartphone at night, make sure you install blue light filtering apps to stop the blue light from reaching your eyes. Replace LED light bulbs with incandescent light. Although incandescent light consumes more electricity, they produce lower levels of blue light. In addition, use a dim red light if you need to go to the restroom at night.
Moreover, one of the most effective ways to mitigate the effects of blue light is by wearing blue-light-blocking glasses. These glasses have specialized lenses that can block blue light and prevent it from reaching your retinal cells.
Even if you use a computer at night to complete an important project before the deadline, you can use blue light glasses to reduce glare and increase contrast. Thus, you can protect your eyes and brain from harmful blue light.
Fluorescent light bulbs installed in your bedroom can emit blue light, affect your brain, and suppress melatonin production. Not only does blue light emitted from your smartphone or computer screen disrupt your sleep, but it also causes other health conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, stress, bipolar disorder, headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.