Recently, the talk about blue light is becoming more and more common. Have you heard the term before? Do you know exactly what blue light is and how it affects you? If not, you’re not the only one! Let’s start with the basics. Blue light is a short and high-energy wavelength that’s naturally all over our world. It is emitted from the sun and collides with air molecules and is scattered everywhere – that’s why the sky appears blue. But what does this have to do with your body and sleep?

Blue light and sleep:

Blue light helps the body regulate its circadian rhythm, or the sleep/wake cycle, by signaling the body to release cortisol to wake up and melatonin to get ready to sleep. Sleeping helps the body recharge and restore so having a regulated sleep/wake cycle is imperative to good health.

Natural blue light is great for the body and helps us feel awake and alert and the absence of it allows our body to wind down and prepare to get a good night of rest. The issue with blue light and the effect on our circadian rhythm is artificial blue light which comes from our phones, televisions, computers, and LED light bulbs. When we disrupt that with artificial blue light when it’s dark out we run into issues. Using your phone or computer before bed or watching T.V. can signal your brain to be awake and alert, which makes it harder to fall asleep.

Blue light can also cause digital eye strain, which are the symptoms one can feel after extended exposure to artificial blue light. Digital eye strain can cause dry eyes, headaches, and neck pain, which can also make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

What precautions you can take:

To help avoid the effects of blue light on your sleep cycle, utilize night mode on your digital devices and set it up to come on about two hours before you go to bed. This will notify you when it’s time to stray away from using your phone or tablet, limit app usage, and dim the screen brightness. This will be enough time for your body to adjust to the night time and produce melatonin to help you sleep.

If you feel the effects of digital eye strain during the day or have trouble staying off your phone or watching television right before bed, look into blue light blocking glasses. These glasses help filter out the harmful blue light from reaching your eyes which will help your body better adjust to the night time even if you are using your digital devices.

Finally, you can try blue light filtering apps. They help reduce the blue light emitted from a screen by mimicking the lighting of the room you’re currently in and can help reduce the strain that the light causes on your eyes. There are a lot of apps that are free and are great for computer and tablet usage.

Although research is still being done, it has been proven how blue light affects the body and the sleep cycle. If you think you are feeling any of these symptoms, try out some of the tips above to help reduce the negative effects of blue light and see if you begin sleeping better. Sleep is vital to good health, so it’s important to do all that you can to ensure you’re getting the best sleep possible to improve your wellbeing.