Studies on the topic are relatively small and last for short periods of time, Carney says. The time children spend on tablets, phones, and computers can seriously strain their eyes, but its also hard on their backs and necks. Its also important to expose yourself to plenty of blue light during the day. However, people are sleeping much less than they did in the past. Magazines, Digital But in December, a group of researchers at the University of Manchester in the U.K. published a paper in Current Biology challenging that notion. (Colors on the other end of the light spectrum red and orange, for example have longer wavelengths and less energy.). The simplest way to lower your exposure to artificial blue light is to turn off your smartphone, TV, and other gadgets well before bedtime. The circadian rhythm of people who stay up late is slightly longer, while the rhythms of earlier birds fall short of 24 hours. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Some studies suggest a link between exposure to light at night, such as working the night shift, to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. BONUS! But too much of it may keep you awake when your body needs to wind down. Receive expert tips on using phones, computers, smart home gear and more. Its become a virtually unchallenged piece of conventional wisdom that exposure to blue lightthe type emitted by electronic device screensis bad for sleep.
So its difficult to say with certainty if those conclusions apply to everyone all the time. Both natural and artificial blue light can boost your alertness and mental sharpness. That thinking has spurred a mini-industry of innovations meant to stop those effects, like warm-toned night mode settings on gadgets and glasses that claim to block blue light. But that doesnt mean blue light is evil. Too much screen time can wreck your eyes. Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight lossfrom exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. The former group experienced major improvements in both sleep quality and mood (24). Blue light is also used therapeutically to treat conditions via exposure to artificial light that resembles sunlight. Participants who decompressed in the color therapy rooms with blue light fared better at lowering stress levels measured according to their heart rate and brain activity, and they did so in a shorter amount of time. Trouble falling asleep at night? Your TV might be to blame. Age of the participants can bear on the outcomes, too. Don't miss your FREE gift. These devices emit light of a blue wavelength, which may trick your brain into thinking its daytime (5). Studies have suggested that blue light is an especially powerful melatonin suppressant. At night, light throws the body's biological clockthe circadian rhythmout of whack. They also kept light levels dim, regardless of color, which may not reflect the bright lights of electronics. Use dim red lights for night lights. Thanks for visiting. Cut back on screen timestarting 2-3 hours before bed. Blue light is all around us all day long. People talk about blue light and sleep because it does affect both our alertness during the day and sleepiness at night, explains Colleen Carney, PhD, an associate professor and director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University in Toronto. Blue light therapy can also be used to help with jet lag and shift-work disorder. Sign up now and get a FREE copy of theBest Diets for Cognitive Fitness. We dive into the history of the. It provides the largest confirmation in our environment as to what time it is.. That could be an invitation forinsomnia. Likewise, blue-light-blocking glasses have been shown to spur major improvements in sleep and mental performance. RELATED: The 10 Best Products for Healthy Sleep. The study was surprising, given the widespread thinking around blue light, but it wasnt unprecedented. One analysis of several studies concluded that theres a lack of high quality evidence supporting their use (27). Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School. Here are some expert tips, plus when to talk to your doctor about night sweats. Notably, those wearing the glasses produced the same amount of melatonin as those exposed to dim light. In one 2-week study, 20 individuals used either blue-light-blocking glasses or glasses that didnt block blue light for 3 hours before bedtime. The biggest source of blue light exposure on earth is the sun, but electronic screens, such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers, and e-readers, all emit artificial blue light too. Dim the brightnesson your devices. Patients sit in front of a light therapy box also called a light therapy lamp that emits bright light that mimics natural sunlight. This process is dependent upon melatonin, a hormone secreted when its dark outside. They include delayed sleep phase syndrome, which is when its difficult to fall asleep until the early hours of the morning, and advanced sleep phase syndrome, on the other end of the spectrum, making it difficult to stay awake in the early evening while waking up too early in the morning. So, how can you make sure youre getting the right amount of exposure to blue light during the day to keep you alert and at night to promote healthy sleep? The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. So almost all of it passes straight through to the back of your retina, which helpsyour braintranslate light into images.