Last week, I talked about reducing the harmful effect of staring at digital screens. At the end, I mentioned looking into some blue-light glasses so I’m going to talk that.
Staring at a screen in general isn’t so great, but apparently there are different types of light and the damage they do also differs, with blue light supposedly being the worst. HOWEVER! It turns out, most devices don’t emit enough blue light to actually cause any damage. So we’re safe from blue light. HOWEVER AGAIN! It turns out that blue light is the leading culprit in sleep disruption when it comes to using electronics in the evening.
Blue light helps people wake up: boosting attention, reaction times, and even mood. The body uses daylight to know where it is in it’s “circadian cycle,” which is the cycle our body is on that tells us when to be up and active and when to go to sleep. So when the sun is up, our bodies say it’s time to get up and do stuff (whether or not we actually do is an entirely different story). But blue light is very similar to daylight, so when your eyes take in the blue light from browsing Facebook, your circadian cycle starts to derail. You stay up later, sleep less, and then everyone’s grumpy. I’m staring to see my problem…
Anyway, reducing your blue-light-related sleep problems can be very simple: turn of the phone. Or in my case the computer, but reducing your screen time a few hours before bed will help your body start to slow down and prepare for bed. If you find you must use your electronic device before bed, there are still more options. Most devices now come with a setting that filters out blue light at a certain time—my entire phone screen tints red around 6 pm. Your other option is the blue-light filtering glasses that I mentioned at the beginning. Or hey, just get outside and soak up more daylight so your body definitely knows what time is day and what time is night.
You hear a lot of people moan about technology and “kids and their darn phones” but it’s part of our daily lives now. Things are not going to stay the same forever, that’s now how evolution and living works. So naturally, we must adapt to adapting and start integrating ways to live with the technology that’s come into our lives. Guess I should still probably look into the blue-light glasses thing.