According to recent research, blue light technology is now being slated as one of the main causes of insomnia. The more time we spend on our iPhones, iPads, or Kindle Fires – all devices which emit blue light – the harder it is to get a good night’s rest. As wonderful and convenient as these blue light devices may be, avoiding them could be the key to beating your insomnia.
It’s All Down to Blue Light Technology
Believe it or not, sleep was much easier to get before the digital era arrived. However, new research from Penn State and Harvard University has proven that people who regularly read electronic books and stare at blue light screens before turning the lights out sleep for less hours! They are also more prone to experience periods of insomnia.
This is down to the blue light emitted from these devices, which interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythm – a ‘fancy’ term for the internal mechanism which synchronizes with the Earth’s 24 hr rotation. This ‘body clock’ is regulated by our senses, and most importantly regulated by the amount of light that passes through our eyes. When this light travels up the optic nerve to an area in the brain known as the pineal gland, it works to regulate melatonin, the hormone that induces sleepiness. Any imbalance in this special hormone will cause restlessness in sleep, as well as insomnia.
Blue Light Interferes with the Ages of Sleep
The pressures of modern day living, alongside the use of blue light devices, simply makes it harder and harder for us to fall asleep – or even stay asleep. This is because blue light impairs the effectiveness of the stages of sleep; In fact, it is particularly detrimental to REM sleep which is in charge of storing memories. Studies carried out by Penn State and Harvard University (US) – published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – support this, showing that screens really can have an extremely powerful effect on the body’s natural sleep pattern.
How to Avoid Blue Light Insomnia – Real Books and Less Technology
Therefore, it is becoming much more clear that if you wish to get a great night’s sleep – but enjoy reading a good book before bedtime – a real book with printed words will help you sleep better than any electronic device. In fact, I believe that limiting the use of blue light devices to at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime is even more helpful when trying to avoid insomnia. I also believe that televisions, mobiles (and their chargers), as well as all other electronic devices should be kept out of the bedroom – or at least switched off completely before bedtime.
Blue Light is the Enemy of Sleep
As a sleep coach, I am seeing more and more people with sleep difficulties, caused by worry, anxieties, stimulants (i.e. coffee, nicotine, cigarettes and e-cigs), alcohol, and now blue light circadian rhythm interruption ( Wow! Try saying that five times!) to top it all. Though blue light has been a positive breakthrough in computer screen technology blue light IS the enemy of sleep.