By now we’ve all heard that reading on an iPad before you check out for the night makes it harder to fall asleep, but it also affects your alertness and sleepiness the next day according to research conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study found that anyone who uses a laptop, smartphone, or certain TVs before bed could be impacted.
Blue light messes with your head, man.
The pineal gland in the brain secretes melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s circadian rhythm. Exposure to light interferes with melatonin secretion, and that throws off your circadian rhythm.
Many studies have linked working graveyard shifts and nighttime light exposure to several types of cancer — breast and prostate — obesity, diabetes and heart disease. While it’s not clear why light at night is bad for us, it is clear that it does throw off melatonin secretion.
The Blue Light Blues
Any kind of nighttime light can suppress melatonin secretion, and blue light does so with more intensity. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to green light to blue light. The blue light suppressed melatonin for twice the amount of time as the green light, and also shifted circadian by twice as much.
What can I do?
While blue light does affect your sleep, there are some things you can do to limit your nighttime exposure:
- If you work an overnight shift or use electronics at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses.
- Expose yourself to lots of bright lights during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night. As an added bonus, your mood and alertness will be boosted by the daylight.
- Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light is least likely to shift your circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
Don’t let the blue light blues get you down. While electronics and energy-efficient bulbs are definitely here to stay, following the above tips can positively affect your help. For more tips on how you can get a comfortable night’s sleep, call Mattress Warehouse at (913) 562-0308 today.