While there are lots of things that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, one that’s been a particularly hot topic of conversation lately is blue light.
So firstly, what is Blue Light?
It’s complex, but we’ll just give you the simple stuff. The light emitted by the sun is made of a huge range of coloured light rays. We see these rays all at once rather than individually, and together they make sunlight, also known as ‘white light’. Blue light is just part of the spectrum that makes sunlight!
But here’s the thing - many of the electronic devices we use emit lots of blue light, which is one of the most disruptive when it comes to nodding off. It’s not such a big deal if we’re exposed to these screens during the day, as the sun gives off blue light anyway, so our bodies are pretty used to it. But getting too much blue light at night is a different story, because that’s when we naturally shouldn’t see it. According to Harvard Health Publishing, blue light exposure at night throws your body’s internal clock out of whack. There’s even some research linking nighttime light exposure to diabetes and heart disease because it leads to interrupted sleep.
So how does blue light affect your sleep?
Our bodies are perfectly primed to respond to sunlight: when the sun is up our bodies know we need to be awake and alert, and when the sun is down it’s time to sleep. That’s because in the absence of sunlight our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’, and we feel ready to nod off.
Here’s the problem with blue light in the evening: it suppresses our melatonin production. Without enough melatonin our bodies are tricked into thinking it’s daytime, leaving us wide awake when we should be out for the count. It means that, unlike our ancestors, we end up suffering from insomnia and sleep deprivation - and we all know how much bad sleep can affect us, from making us see red to messing up our skin. That’s why it’s best to avoid screens during the evening.
Reducing blue light effects
Below are some methods that have proven to be effective in limiting exposure to blue light. It can be difficult to completely banish blue light from the bedroom, but you can still help yourself with some handy hacks.
- Avoid bright screens for between two and three hours before you turn in. That includes phones, TVs, and laptops - We know- easier said than done!!
- If you can’t kick your screen habit, make sure you’re protected by a filter like Ocushield.
- Many electronic devices come with a built-in ‘night mode’. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it might help you drop off nonetheless.
- Expose yourself to more bright light during the day. This will boost your mood and your alertness, and could increase your ability to drop off later on.
- Dim the lights in your home a couple of hours before bed to mimic sunset. Alternatively, invest in smart lights and set them to a warm hue as the day draws on.
- Make sure you can make your bedroom dark in the summer. There’s nothing worse than opening your eyes at 5am on a Saturday! Just as artificial light can keep you awake when you want to be asleep, so can natural light - at all the wrong times.
- Go back to physical books so you’re not tempted to read from a screen instead. It’s relaxing, too.
The bottom line: Regardless of which methods you implement, as long as you’re working toward reducing your overall exposure to blue light, you’re heading towards a restful night's sleep.
Here at Bedtime.co.uk we aim to give you a better night sleep and to give you peace of mind, we offer a 52 night guarantee! Find out more today!