Have you ever woken up to bright morning skies feeling energized? A big reason for your mood is the high-intensity blue light coming from the sun. Among the visible light spectrum, blue wavelengths have the most powerful effect on your sleep-wake internal body clock.
Both natural and artificial blue light can boost your alertness and mental sharpness. But too much of it may keep you awake when your body needs to wind down.
Exposure to all colors of light helps control your natural sleep-and-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. More so than any other color, blue light messes with your body’s ability to prepare for sleep because it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy.
The reason blue light is so problematic is that it has a short wavelength that affects melatonin levels more than any other wavelength does. Light from fluorescent bulbs and LED lights can produce the same effect. Naturally, the pineal gland in the brain begins to release melatonin a couple of hours before bedtime, and melatonin reaches its peak in the middle of the night.
One 3-week study revealed that 20 individuals used either blue-light-blocking glasses or glasses that didn’t block blue light for 3 hours before bedtime. Participants completed sleep diaries during a one-week baseline assessment and two weeks’ use of glasses.
At the end of the study, the group who wore blue light blocking glasses experienced significant sleep quality improvement relative to the control group. Mood also improved significantly.
So what should you do to minimize the blue light effect on your sleep?
Choose bulbs with a warm white tone
Because it is not just your phone or tablet. If you have cool-toned or daylight lightbulbs in your bedroom, it would be better to change them.
Put down your phone at least 2 hours before bed
It also means tablet, computer, tv. Instead, you can just read some normal (printed) book.
Use blue light blocking glasses
If you must do some tasks on your computer or check your phone before bed, use special blue light blocking glasses.
As a reminder, reducing blue light exposure before bed is just a part of a healthy bedtime routine. It is essential to minimize overall activity, stress, and work before bed when possible to have an easy transition into sleep. Sleep well at night to enjoy the daytime for other vital things.