Blue Light and Bed Times

Most of us use some kind of blue-lit device at some point in our day. Despite the wave of claims that its dangerous to our eyes, the American Academy of Ophthalmology argues otherwise. Though there is no conclusive evidence that blue light is harmful to our eyes, there is evidence that it messes with our circadian rhythm.

When your circadian rhythm is off, it affects your body’s natural sleep cycle. Generally speaking, it will take you much longer to fall asleep and may cause a more restless night once you do finally drift off - no matter how comfortable your pillows and blankets might be. Blue light can have an effect on melatonin production as well. One of the key elements in our progression into sleep is that our body temperature gradually lowers. Exposure to blue light keeps our temperature up at our daylight levels, adding an extra obstacle to the struggle to sleep.

None of this is new research, either. Studies began showing this correlation back in the 80’s but research actually began back in the 1950’s, corresponding to TV sets blasting blue light into our lives in glorious technicolor.

But with kid’s homework requiring internet research well into the night, scrolling through Facebook in bed, and relaxing with your favorite show, it’s getting more and more difficult to avoid blue light around bed.

Most experts agree that you need to go blue light free at least an hour before you plan to crawl under your comforters and go to sleep. However, sometimes that just isn’t possible or maybe you’d like to start filtering it out sooner in the evening. Here a few tips on how to ensure that your love of blue light doesn’t ruin your sleep.

  • For iPhones you can enable your Night Shift setting. It will filter your screen in warmer colors during the times you specify. Make sure to set it to dim a few hours before you usually go to bed for the best results. Android users can enable their Night Mode setting for the same results.
  • Windows 10 added a blue light filter to help save your eyes at work, as well as at home and there are add-ons for Chrome to help filter it as well.
  • Some newer Kindle’s and other e-readers have Blue light filters that you can utilize so that your evening wind-down reading can still be done on your device.
  • Gaming glasses can be used for avid gamers to help block blue light in case you really need to get to your next level before bed.

But the best and most effective way to ensure a good night’s sleep is-

  • At least an hour before bed, cut off the screen time. Try to stay off your phone as much as possible, choose a book over a TV show, and log off the computer.