Have you ever wondered why you sleep poorly at night?
You’re not alone. Millions of people across the world have sleep problems. However, the reasons for lack of sleep are varied and may differ from one person to next.
One of the lesser known causes of poor sleep is Blue Light.
While blue light is eco friendly, it has a dark side to it. It can affect your sleep and increase your risk to several health conditions.
Artificial light is not good for your body’s biological clock. But not all artificial lights are created equal. Some have a far worse affect on your sleep than others. Blue light is one of the really bad ones.
Blue Light Explained
Different light wavelengths affect us differently. Blue light boost mood, attention, and reaction times. These reactions are helpful during daylight hours when we need to be active. However, these same features make the blue light disruptive at night.
Increased exposure to blue light — emitted by almost all electronic devices with screens — can disrupts our biological clock big time.
The Relation between Light & Sleep
Each one of us has a slightly different circadian rhythm — aka body’s biological clock. While the average length is 24 ¼ hours, early risers have slightly shorter circadian rhythms and late sleepers have slightly longer. Research shows that daylight helps in keeping our internal clock aligned with environment.
Is Exposure to Artificial Light at Night bad?
Some scientific studies hint at a relation between exposure to nighttime light and heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Harvard researchers did a study to find out the link between nighttime light exposure and diabetes and obesity. The researchers put ten people on a schedule that slowly shifted the time of their internal clock. The participants recorded an increase in their blood sugar levels and decrease in their leptin levels. Leptin is a naturally-occurring hormone that plays an important role in the regulation of appetite.
Artificial light also suppresses the release of melatonin — a hormone that plays a role in our natural sleep-wake cycle.
The melatonin secretion and consequently our sleep-wake cycle get disrupted even by dim light. Exposure to just eight lux, a brightness level that’s far less than what most table lamps and night lights produce, affects our ability to sleep.
Exposure to nighttime light is one reason why a large number of people are not able to enjoy a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Lack of sleep is linked to a number of health conditions, including, but not limited to, depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
How Blue Light Affects Sleep?
While all artificial lights disrupt melatonin secretion, blue light has a more powerful affect.
Harvard researchers compared the effect of blue light vis-à-vis green light on sleep. Researchers exposed participants to first blue light for 6.5 hours and then green light for the same duration. They found that blue light suppressed melatonin production for roughly twice as long as the green light. Its affect on the internal sleep-wake cycle was also twice as much.
Another study done by the University of Toronto came up with similar findings. In this study, the researchers compared the levels of melatonin in people exposed to blue light wearing goggles that keep out blue wavelengths to people exposed to regular dim light wearing no goggles. The first group was found to have the same levels of melatonin as the second group, which strengthens the claim that blue light may suppress melatonin production.
How to Product Yourself from Blue Light at Night?
If blue light exposure at night is bad for sleep, then what kind of light one should use in bedrooms and living rooms.
The answer is extra warm white LED bulbs since they help create a cozy, warm and laid-back atmosphere that’s ideal before sleep time. However, make sure you purchase only CRI90+ bulbs as they emit the most balanced light. LiquidLEDs sell only CRI90+ LEDs as your health is our top-most priority.
You should also consider using dim red LED light bulbs for night lamps. Among all the wavelengths, red wavelengths were found to affect the circadian rhythm the least.