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Blue Light: The Affect of Blue Light On Our Sleep

We know that sleep can be affected by a number of factors. For example, caffeine drinks before bed adversely affect our sleep and on the other hand, it helps in making us alert. Blue light works in the same way. You might have experienced waking up with the sunlight and feeling active to bring the day. This is because sunlight has a blue light that brings us to wakefulness, the same effect is not desirable before going to bed. 

What is Blue Light?

Light in general is a form of energy made of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to our naked eyes. We recognized colors of light based on the amount of energy they emit. These lights are visible to us depending on their spectrum. For example, we can see all the  7 colors of visible light in a rainbow.  

Similarly, blue light consists of a portion of visible light that can be emitted from the sun or produced artificially. Blue light can directly impact our alertness, sleep patterns, and hormonal activities. 

How does blue light affect our sleep?

Natural light influences our sleep cycle or circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythm or cycle is a natural internal process of living organisms that clocks sleep-and-wake based on the natural lighting approximately every 24 hours. 

Blue light can potentially interfere with our slumber as it has the ability to inhibit the function of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone in the body. Exposure to blue light at the night can delay or impact rest negatively.

Common sources of blue light include:

A common conception is that using devices at night hinders. However, have you wondered why? Well, our electronic devices may appear to emit white light, however, their wavelength is in the range of 400 to 490 nanometers. This is considered blue light. 

Some of the day-to-day devices that emit blue light that can disturb your sleep are:

  1. Televisions
  2. Smartphones
  3. Tablets
  4. Gaming systems
  5. Fluorescent light bulbs
  6. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs
  7. Computer monitors

How to limit blue light?

Here are some simple ways to manage blue light consumption at night –

  • Avoid using your phone 2-3 hours before going to bed. 
  • Dim the lights in your room to create a peaceful snoozing environment. 
  • Block the sunlight entering your room using blackout curtains. 
  • Use an app to block blue light radiating from your phone screens and apps.
  • Set an alarm to turn off your devices before going to bed. 
  • Replace your lightbulbs with a red night lamp or lava lamp to induce better sleep at night.

Source: How Blue Light Affects Your Sleep, October 03, 2020, webmd.com

How Blue Light Affects Sleep, April 12, 2022, sleepfoundation.org

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