In the modern world, blue light is practically everywhere. Light from our electronics, including our cell phones, tablets, computer screens and TVs, are all on blue wavelengths, which researchers are finding can be extra disrupting to our sleep patterns.
How Blue Light Impacts Our Sleep
Our bodies take signals on our sleep and waking cycles from our circadian rhythm, which is impacted directly by the amount of light we take in each day. Ideally, getting a lot of natural light during daylight hours and reducing light exposure after dark is the best way to regulate our circadian rhythms, but unfortunately, this is not always possible in our modern world.
While all light can impact this cycle, blue light has been shown to more dramatically affect the levels of melatonin our brain produces, which is a hormone directly responsible for our sleep cycles. Blue light has been shown to suppress the production of melatonin more powerfully and for longer durations compared to lights in other color families.
How to Reduce Blue Light’s Impact on Sleep
Increase natural light exposure. A good night’s sleep starts with how you spend your day, especially when it comes to the light you are exposed to. Getting plenty of natural light exposure during the daytime, by sitting outside or keeping the blinds open, can help your body pick up on signals to regulate its sleep habits.
Reduce light exposure after dark. As your ideal bedtime approaches, limiting your light exposure is recommended. About three hours before bed, you will want to stick to low lighting and limited interaction with screens and electronics that put off blue light. If you have to look at a screen, blue light glasses may be a good option.
Keep your sleeping environment dark. It is best to sleep in an area that is completely void of light so you do not have any external stimuli that could upset your sleep and circadian rhythm. Try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible, and consider adding a sleep mask to your routine to block out any unwanted light.
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