You only fall asleep when it’s dark outside. Have you wondered why?
You barely feel sleepy during the day, and your body feels fully energised. But as it starts getting dark, your energy level starts slipping, and you want to retire to bed quickly. If this fact makes you curious about the answer, delve into this blog and learn its science.
Why Do You Stay Awake During The Day?
You are wide awake during the day because of the blue light. The sunlight has the blue light that tells our body to stay awake. That’s why each morning, when the sunlight hits our body, it increases our alertness and causes us to wake up.
How Does Blue Light from Screens Affect Sleep?
Phones, laptops and other screens emit blue light like the sunlight, preventing our bodies from falling asleep. You must have noticed that while using your phone for ten minutes before bedtime, you reach the dead of the night, and it gets too late, but you still don’t feel sleepy. This is because blue light prevents the body from falling asleep.
Blue light, be it natural (sunlight) or artificial (phone, laptop or screens), slows or stops melatonin release in the body, an essential hormone that regulates sleep. It hurts our sleep pattern and messes with our body’s sleep preparation process.
Blue lights make you less drowsy than usual at night, so it takes you longer to fall asleep.
Blue Light Sources
The natural source of blue light is sunlight; the rest are the artificial sources we all have in our surroundings. The devices we use daily endlessly appear to have white light, but they can give off wavelengths in the range of 400 to 490 nanometers, which is blue light.
Artificial sources of blue light include:
- Gaming systems
- LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Computer monitors
How to reduce blue light exposure
- Wear Blocking glasses
- Install Screen Filters
- Install Low Blue Light Bulbs
- Put on an Eye Mask During Sleep
- Make use of Blue Light Blocking Software
- Low-Wattage Red Nightlight or Footlight
- Use Blue Light Filter Computer Glasses
- Reduce Light in Surrounding
If you are too much into screens all the time, especially at night, get high-quality eyewear. Since the eye is an essential organ of our body, a primary sensor of light, wearing blue light-blocking glasses is crucial, It will restrict the blue light coming into the eye.
Do you know that only a few minutes of exposure to blue light can affect melatonin production for hours? The modern devices we use feature screens that emit vast amounts of blue light. Installing screen filters on phones, tablets, and laptops will help minimize blue and UV light exposure to protect our eyes.
Energy-efficient light bulbs, like fluorescent, halogen, and even some LED lights, are common nowadays. But they emit vast amounts of blue-containing white light. In contrast, using traditional light sources is a safe and economical move that you can use to improve your sleep pattern and quality. As it starts to darken outside, use candles or incandescent light bulbs, which emit a significantly less amount of blue light.
Even our skin can sense the light, so for our eyes, it’s far easy to detect light since they are the primary sensors. Studies show that our eyelids are translucent. So even a tiny amount of light on the closed eyelids can impact the circadian rhythm and sleep quality. That’s why contouring them with an eye mask is a good practice.
Now, apps are designed to combat the high amount of light that devices emit. Go through Google Play or the App Store to check out eye protection software for computer screens and laptops.
If you have to wake up during the night to drink water or access the loo, then instead of turning on the main light, choose to go with a low-wattage red nightlight or footlight. Both will provide enough light to help you walk easily during nighttime.
For office-going individuals, students or people who spend significant periods on computers during the day should filter down the blue light to least impact the eyes. Choose screen time computer glasses that filter the harmful artificial blue light that causes eye strain and headaches.
If any electronic devices around you glow or put out the light, you must turn off them or cover them. Keep your room pitch black all night, and consider putting analogue clocks instead of digital.
Impact of Blue Light on Teens’ Sleep
From teenage to older people, blue light impacts everyone. In fact, the blue light case is even more sensitive in children because their eyes are more sensitive to light than adults. A research study revealed that evening light exposure affected melatonin twice in children compared to adults. Children at a very young age and those who have not even experienced puberty are significantly more exposed to blue light, leading to excessive melatonin suppression.
Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to healthy sleep habits and better mental health or conditions you create to help yourself sleep better. Go through the following points to know why sleep hygiene is so important:
- Increases daytime energy level
- Improves mood
- Improves blood sugar regulation
- Enhances immune system function
- LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs
- Enhances immune system function
- Decreases stress
Tips to Protect Sleep From Blue Light
In our modern world, protecting eyes from blue light is nearly impossible. Artificial blue light has become a part of our everyday life, and it has become a necessity. While we can’t remove it from our life, we can certainly reduce its impact or use by following the below-mentioned tips:
- Minimise Screen Time
- Spend Time on Outdoor Activities
- Read Books Early Morning and Before Bed
- Minimise Light Usage
- Ensure Daytime Light Exposure
Mobile phones now come with inbuilt features that generate reports regarding screen time usage and the most used apps. You can rely on those periodic reports to ensure optimum phone screen use.
There comes a screen time limit and app time limit feature, which you can use to control your time on screen or any particular app.
If you are too much into screen time all day, consider taking a break, as it severely impacts your eyes and eyesight. Play outdoor games or do embroidery, stitching, cleaning and other household chores that take you away from the screen and refresh your eyes, mind and body.
Using a phone early in the morning and before sleep is not good for the eyes. During that time, consider reading books as it will protect your eyes from the screen and introduce you to a good habit.
Reduce the usage of light in your house. That is possible if you finish your household chores and other work early. Exposing your eyes to light before sleep time is unacceptable if you want to sleep better, as it will suppress the melatonin and prevent you from falling asleep.
Bright light exposure during the day synchronizes circadian rhythms and encourages sleep at bedtime. Ensure you receive a lot of bright, natural light during the day.
In a Nutshell
If falling asleep is hard for you, consider reducing the blue light exposure. Create a technology-free zone where you stay away from gadgets for at least a few hours before retiring to bed. Introducing this change might be hard initially, but it would be a significant move to enhance your sleep quality.