Blue Light: The Enemy of Sleep

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Have you ever woken up late at night, turned on the light and then could not go back to sleep?  Well, this is likely because of the blue light that your lightbulb emits.

Blue light is the enemy of sleep. It’s everywhere from LED light bulbs to screens on cell phones, tablets, laptops and TVs. So, what can you do?

You may remember the acronym ROY G BIV from introductory science class that represents the first letters of the different types of colored light that make up white light or the visible light spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo and violet. 

Blue light has a lower wavelength and higher energy than other colors. It negatively impacts your sleep because it inhibits the production of melatonin, which tells your body to begin waking up.

Here are a few tips on how to manage blue light that’s all around you:

  • Turn on the “night” mode on your screen at dusk. This will block any blue light from being emitted. For apple users, you can do this by following these directions. For Window’s 10 users, follow these steps. If your screen has been purchased or operating on a system updated in the last 3-4 years, it likely has a night option you can find by search. Do yourself a favor, and find out how!
  • Use blue-blocker glasses. Even if your screens have night mode, there will likely be significant blue light from bulbs in your home. Buy glasses that can actually block or significantly reduce the amount of blue light you are exposed to. This article seems to provide a decent review of current options.
  • Use smart light bulbs where blue light can be blocked. Smart bulbs that can block blue light have been around for several years. I bought these Philips bulbs two years ago when they were one of the only available options. Type in “blue blocking light bulbs” into Amazon and you can do your own research.
  • Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. I walked into my newly remodeled kitchen one night and was surprised that I didn’t need to turn on the light to see well.  My oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven fan and wall socket all had LEDs lighting the room.  In your bedroom, the most common source of light at night is the clock light. Even a small amount of light can negatively impact your sleep, so remove or cover them. If you need a night light, make sure it is absent of blue light. Red lights are a good option. If you live in the city, buy blackout shades to keep your room dark at night.  
  • Use candles.  When we would lose power and use candles at night, my family noticed that we would often have the best night’s sleep. About twice a year for the last several years, we turn off all the lights and just use candles. When we do this, we cannot stay awake and end up going to bed about 30-60 minutes after it’s dark outside.

    Good sleep is a pillar of good health. And blue light is an enemy of good sleep and therefore an enemy of your family’s health. Take a step towards wellness and implement one of these above tips today. You won’t regret it!

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