There’s nothing comparing to a bright blue sky on a sun-kissed day. Earth’s atmosphere molecules scatter short-length light waves in every direction. This is blue light, and for as long as humans have been roaming the planet, this light signals to our brain – “this is daytime!”
Blue light has a primary role in the way we sync our sleep with the environment – a biological clock called our circadian rhythm. During the day, blue light helps the brain to keep focus and concentrated. It keeps our mood up and our reaction time quick. We are alert and ready for the challenges of the day.
But blue light also has a dark side.
With the advent of artificial lighting means that our exposure to blue light now happens both during the day and at night. TV screens, laptops, street lights, home lights, and many other light sources mean that we are in an age of blue light overload.
When we get ready to slow down and sleep, the presence of blue light sends mixed signals to the brain and puts your circadian rhythm out of sync.
The main problem science can measure is in how blue light at night suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep rhythm. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment that found that blue light exposure at night made significant changes in hormone production and changes to our circadian rhythm.
Another study from the University of Toronto suggests that people who are wearing glasses that filter out blue light (like Baxter Blue, which we are giving away for Sleep Week!) are eliminating the changes in our biological clock caused by blue light at night.
In addition to blue light filtering glasses, there are a few other helpful things to help minimize the effect of blue light:
- 💤 Use dim red lights for night lights – the red wavelength is the safest for sleep health. You can also change your lightbulb for a Low Blue Light Bulb.
- 💤 Set up “Night Shift” on your device, or download a special blue-blocking app for your computer, phone and tablet. And as much as possible, avoid looking at screens before going to sleep!
- 💤 Expose yourself to plenty of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.
This sleep health article is part of our Sleep Awareness Week series, be sure to check our Instagram – @ettitudestore – for special announcements and giveaways.