The relationship between blue light and sleep
A good night's sleep is crucial for feeling alert and energized during the day. Unfortunately, many people are unable to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night. And while there are many factors that can contribute to sleep deprivation, exposure to blue light may be a key player.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of research on the relationship between blue light and sleep, and scientists have discovered that exposure to blue light can interfere with our ability to fall and stay asleep. Read on to learn more about how blue light affects our sleep, and find out how you can protect yourself from its negative effects.
How does blue light affect our sleep?
The human brain is hardwired to respond to light, and our bodies have evolved to use light as a cue for when it’s time to wake up and start the day. This response is controlled by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which regulates our circadian rhythm, or natural sleep-wake cycle.
Exposure to blue light triggers a release of the hormone dopamine, which tells the body it’s time to be alert and awake. At night, when we’re trying to wind down and prepare for sleep, this effect can work against us. The SCN responds to blue light by suppressing the release of melatonin, the hormone that signals our brains it’s time to sleep.
In addition to its effects on the SCN, blue light also suppresses the release of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleepiness. So, when we’re exposed to blue light at night, we not only have a harder time falling asleep, but we also get less deep sleep and wake up more during the night. All of this can lead to daytime fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
How can you protect yourself from blue light at night?
There are a few simple things you can do to limit your exposure to blue light at night and help promote better sleep:
- Avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime. If you must use a device, consider using night shift mode or investing in blue light blocking glasses.
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any external light, and maintain a comfortable temperature in the room.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends and holidays. This will help train your body to get sleepy at a consistent time each night.
With a few simple changes, you can help reduce your exposure to blue light at night and get the restful sleep your body needs. While you’re at it, don’t forget to get yourself a comfortable and supportive mattress and other bed accessories from EzySleep!