Can blue light keep you awake?
What happens if we spend too much time on our computer, just before we hit the pillow?
Well, we may end up tossing and turning.
Because it appears that blue light can keep us awake.
What exactly is blue light?
It’s a certain wavelength of light that can affect our circadian rhythms, or the sleep wake cycle.
Blue light is part of the spectrum of light found in sunlight.
During the morning, when we wake, blue light is great.
In fact, it’s believed the exposure to natural sunlight during the day can help you sleep at night.
Throughout most of history, people have woken with the sun and spent the darkness either in candlelight or asleep.
Electronics have changed that. One source of blue light is computer screens.
Many of us (myself included) stay on the computer well into the evening hours.
Then we try to sleep.
Can Blue Light Keep You Awake?
Unfortunately, blue light can keep us awake by throwing off our circadian rhythms, which control the sleep wake cycle.
There’s more bad news too. Exposure to blue light at night is also linked to various health problems, according to The Harvard Health Letter, published by Harvard Medical School.
This Harvard Health Letter article also quoted a sleep expert who said that, “Light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep.”
Millions of adults struggle with chronic insomnia.
They spend way too much time tossing and turning.
They may ingest sleeping pills, which can be habit forming.
Getting through the day is difficult, when you’re operating on little sleep. (I know, because I suffered from insomnia for years.)
But avoiding blue light is a potentially easy fix.
I’m not saying that blue light exposure is solely responsible for the insomnia epidemic.
Many adults have occasional insomnia. But about 10 percent battle chronic insomnia, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Chronic insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping at least three nights a week, for a period of at least three months. (AASM definition.)
The AASM also noted that an estimated $63 billion in workplace productivity is lost each year, due to employees’ inability to get enough sleep.
How To Stop Blue Light At Night
I do need to stress that I’m not a medical expert. Insomnia can have serious consequences, including depression and high blood pressure. So please rely upon your own doctor for diagnosis and treatment decisions.
However, I can share my personal experience with sleep. I suffered from extreme chronic insomnia for years.
This problem started when I was working nights. It threw my circadian cycle into chaos.
Then I started having trouble sleeping. I used a lot of natural remedies until I found ones that helped.
I wish I had known about the blue light issue years earlier.
But I don’t think avoiding blue light alone would have solved my problem.
Still, if you do spend a lot of time on the computer at night, it certainly can’t hurt to invest in a pair of blue-light blocking glasses.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses for Sleep
Blue light blocking glasses are also recommended in the Harvard Health Letter. Along with getting plenty of natural light during the day and avoiding your computer screen two to three hours before bed, if you can.
Some of us can’t unplug. So that’s where blue light blocking glasses may help.
I didn’t have to order these. Because my longstanding insomnia problem was solved by the time I found out about these special glasses.
It wasn’t any one thing that banished my insomnia.
Instead, it was having enough natural sleep remedies on hand, which I could rotate.
Essential oils and various herbal remedies always work great when I first start using them. But, eventually, they lose their magic. After a break they start working again.
(Blue light blocking glasses would have been used every night though.)
Not taking any one remedy too often was key to helping me sleep better.
Then, slowly, I started not worrying about the problem.
Even after I left that night job, insomnia lingered for years. Because I started worrying about not sleeping enough. This thought of staying awake would then keep me awake.
So blue light blocking glasses would probably have helped during this time.
But they wouldn’t be the entire solution.
What I needed to do was change my approach to sleep. To break the worry/insomnia cycle.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Pregnant women should not use natural remedies unless under medical direction.
For More Reading