The Story of Blue Light

The Story of Blue Light

Although blue light is environmentally friendly and naturally provided by the sun, blue light can affect your sleep and potentially cause health issues. Until the arrival of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of lighting, with people spending their evenings in relative darkness. Now, in much of the world, evenings are illumined due to technology which is readily available at the touch of our fingers.

Little do we know, but we may be paying a price for using all that light. At night, light throws the body’s biological clock (the circadian rhythm) out of sync. Due to this, our sleep can suffer causing fatigue and headaches. Worst of all, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Blue wavelengths that are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood also seem to be the most disruptive at night. With the continuing creation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown is increasing sharply.

Some studies that suggest a link between exposure to light at night to some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This is not proof that night time light exposure causes these conditions; nor is it clear why it could be bad for us however we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some preliminary experimental evidence that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.

Protect yourself from blue light at night

· If you use electronic devices at night, consider using anti-blue light screen protectors on your devices and wearing blue light blocking glasses.

· Use dim red lights for night lights as red light has the least amount of power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.

· Try and avoid using devices one hour before you go to sleep at night.

· Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day as this will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.

Does blue light exposure effect sleep?

Blue Light Screen Protector
Blue light is one of the light wave lengths that make up part of our full light spectrum. Some of the ways we are exposed to blue light can be from digital devices, which is artificial, and natural sources such as sunlight. The artificial light emitted from sources such as digital devices have been found to be more concentrated in blue light than any other sources.

So how does blue light effect sleep?

It can affect the product of melatonin

Melatonin is the sleep hormone that helps tell our body that it is getting dark, and we need to start winding down and getting ready to sleep, exposure to blue light is said to suppress the production of this important hormone. To make this easier to understand, blue light from the sun wakes you up naturally in the morning and you tend to feel sleepier in dark environments. Blue light from your digital screens can have a significant impact on your sleep cycle because of the way your brain perceives the blue light through the melanopsin receptors behind your retina.  All the blue light from your devices get an all-access pass to your brain.

Effects on circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s time clock, its primary purpose is to tell your body when it’s time to sleep and wake up, and any disruptions to the cycle can have impact on your sleep.  The role of blue light in all of this is to maintain melatonin levels in your body to help in controlling your body’s circadian rhythm, So blue light can interrupt your sleep in a couple of ways – one by disrupting the production of sleep-inducing hormones, and two, by throwing the natural circadian rhythm off-balance. By negatively affecting the quality of our sleep, blue light exposure can prove to be detrimental to our mood, behaviour and overall health.

Wrap up

Limiting blue light at night helps your circadian rhythm but getting zero blue light throughout the day won’t exactly do you any good. Exposing yourself to blue light during daylight hours contributes to a healthy circadian rhythm and will help you sleep better at night! Blue light may get a negative reputation when it comes to sleep quality and eye health, but it isn’t necessary to avoid blue light totally – you only need to minimise your blue light exposure at night. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle is all about striking a balance between getting enough sunlight during the day and staying away from artificial light at night. Once you get into the rhythm of things, you are bound to notice the difference!  Reference: https://www.myactivesg.com/active-health/read/2019/5/how-does-blue-light-affect-sleep