Technology

Using Blue Light Filters for Better Sleep

Written by Derek Johnson

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 30% of adults in the US don’t get enough sleep each night. Unfortunately, this lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of ailments, including heart disease, depression, obesity and diabetes, to name a few. The good news is, there are quite a few treatments to help people get the sleep they need, such as medication, herbs, and even eliminating blue light at night.

Blue light or wavelengths is emitted by electronic devices with screens, eg. Cellphones, TV and computer monitors. It is beneficial during the day time because it helps keep one on their toes by boosting mood and overall attention. However, at night, it has been shown to be disruptive to a good-night’s sleep.

In a study conducted at Harvard University, researchers compared the effects of blue light vs green light on sleep. Subjects were exposed to 6.5 hours of both, and the results showed that blue light suppressed melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns) twice as much as the green light. Researchers also discovered that blue light caused twice as much of a shift in circadian rhythms compared to green light. In a nutshell, blue light can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime.

It’s worthwhile noting that a recent study out of the United of Manchester in the U.K. cast some doubt on the effect of blue light on sleep. Researchers discovered that yellow light actually may disturb sleep cycles more so than blue light. However, this study was done on mice and not humans. Given that mice are nocturnal creatures, it is possible that blue light affects them differently than humans.

To combat the effects of blue light without having to put away the gadgets, blue light filters have made an appearance on the scene. They come in the form of glasses or covers that fit over your gadgets with screens. There are also apps that can block the blue light from your devices as well, but they are not as effective as the glasses and covers.

It’s important to note that modern gadgets aren’t the only source of blue light in our lives. Indoor lighting, car headlights and streetlights may also be contributing to blue light exposure. Therefore, screen covers and apps may only be partially effective when trying to eliminate blue light from your life.

 

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Derek Johnson

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