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.
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!