If you have been researching or reading about the effects of excess screen time on your overall sleep quality, then you must have come across the term “blue light.” Although this light is environment-friendly, blue light can have adverse effects on your sleep quality. This light is found in various energy-efficient light sources and digital devices. It emits a short wavelength that stimulates the eye sensors sending signals to the brain’s internal clock, tricking it into thinking that it’s daytime. Digital devices are not the only source of blue light as it can occur from natural sources like the sun. However, artificial blue light from fluorescent light bulbs and digital devices emit more concentrated blue light than any other natural source. Now, the main question that arises in the minds of people is what exactly is so unique about blue light that makes it so disruptive to sleep?
Impact on Melatonin Production
The impact of blue light is so severe on your sleep quality only because it adversely impacts the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. But how does it affect the sleep hormone of the body? Melatonin is essential for inducing a person to fall asleep, and blue light suppresses the production of this hormone. For this reason, sunlight wakes up a person in the morning, and you tend to feel sleepy in dark environments. Even though digital screens are a smaller light source as compared to natural sources, it still has a significant impact on the normal sleep cycle. The brain perceives this light through the melatonin receptors behind the retina, allowing an all-access pass directly to the brain.
Impact on Circadian Rhythm
The effect of blue light in maintaining the circadian rhythm in the body makes it an important factor in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm sends a signal to the body, indicating when it is time to sleep or wake up. Any disturbance in this cycle will have a negative impact on sleep quality. This makes it difficult for the person to fall asleep or even stay asleep.
Ways to Prevent Blue Light from Interfering with Sleep
- The use of dim red lights at night reduces the possibility of shifting the circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin production.
- If you are working night shifts or use a lot of electronic gadgets at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing apps that filter the blue or green wavelength at night.
- Expose your eyes to a lot of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to fall fast asleep at night.
- Minimize the total screen time at night and avoid looking at a bright screen at least two to three hours before bed.
There are several benefits of blue light as well but using it at the right time will help to make the most out of it. Make sure you minimize your exposure to blue light at night and increase it during the day, so as to prevent its interference with the sleeping pattern.