Can Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?

September 15, 2012  |  sleep

blue sky and beachWe see blue light everywhere, especially now that LED and electronics are becoming more and more common.

However, do you know that they can affect our sleeping patterns?

What is blue light, and where does it come from?

There are plenty of variations of UV light wavelengths, but UV light is described to be a part of the invisible spectrum, the scope of which is 380-200 nanometer (nm). It is only recently that researchers have explored “near UV” lights or blue light, which can be seen by humans. We can find blue light in:

  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Flat LED television screens and computer screens
  • White-light nightlights and streetlights

How does blue light affect our sleep?
Our exposure to blue light is unavoidable, considering that we regularly use products that emit it. The exposure has certain effects on our body, such as a change in alertness, inhibition of melatonin, and disruption of our sleeping patterns. The light can especially affect the elderly and those who are sensitive to sleep disruption.

Exposure to blue light can make it difficult to achieve sleep. Lack of sleep, especially due changing patterns, has a negative effect on our health. Poor sleeping patterns may lead to depression, obesity, diabetes and certain cardiovascular conditions and can result to an overall poor quality of life.

Blue light also has positive effects
Blue light is not without its benefits, as it is not completely all that bad. For those people who love to travel yet often experience jet lag symptoms, blue light therapy can alter your sleeping pattern and eradicate these problems. The use of sleeping pills may also have certain side effects to the body, so if you want to alter your sleeping patterns, you may want to consider light exposure as a better alternative to pills. Some people may be wary of this of radiation or UV waves, but blue light does not emit any of these.

How does blue light therapy work?
Blue light sleep therapy, as mentioned above, resets a person’s sleeping pattern. With this, therapy can be used to help alter sleeping patterns and promote bettere slep. The therapy is done by exposing a person to a specific blue light frequency for a certain amount of time whenever they wake up or before go to sleep. Research shows that the lighting gives the person better sleep and restore the person’s circadian (sleep) rhythm.

Avoiding blue light
Still, blue light is a double edged sword. If you do not need to alter your sleeping patterns, then you do not need any blue light therapy. But with constant exposure to electronic products and gadgets, you may be exposed to it and it may cause sleep disruptions. So,  how can you avoid blue light and have better sleep?

First, you should always follow a normal bedtime routine, in order to prevent blue light exposure from further aggravating your sleeping pattern. You can also improve your sleep hygiene by making a few lifestyle changes. Also, it is important that you limit your use of blue light-emitting gadgets. Turn your devices off at least one to two hours before going to bed – these should help you fall asleep easier.