Blue Light & Insomnia: How to deal with them?
Following the appearance of screens in our lives, many health problems, some of them still unknown until now, have appeared. Among these complications that we are used to encounter in our lives, insomnia seems to be a particularly common problem for people who spend a considerable amount of time in front of screens, which emit blue light.
Whether you are a designer, a computer scientist, a gamer or simply used to spending time on electronic devices, you have probably already noticed some problems with the quality of your sleep.
Sometimes, you have trouble falling asleep and it can take several tens of minutes or even several hours! As a reminder, the average time to fall asleep is about 20 minutes. If you regularly exceed this 20-minute threshold, it probably means that there is a problem with your sleep.
Blue light is not the only factor in sleep disturbances, it can also depend on your daily life and the degree of stress you experience.
Nevertheless, for all those who have to deal with blue light, many studies indicate that it can indeed lead to various sleep disorders, whether it is difficulties to fall asleep or simply insomnia.
How does Blue Light act on our sleep?
The circadian rhythm. You may have already heard about it, but the circadian rhythm is seen as the internal clock of the human body. Why is that? The circadian rhythm is a biological rhythm with a cycle of approximately 24 hours. It determines certain physiological processes such as eating and of course what we are interested in today: sleep.
This 24-hour biological rhythm is governed by the sun, our body being programmed to naturally follow this rhythm will therefore go through several phases with an awakening phase and a sleeping phase.
The light that the sun transmits when it rises is supposed to wake up our organism in order to tell it that it is daytime, so that it can go into the awakening phase.
As soon as the sun goes down, our body feels the lack of light and goes into a sleep phase, ready to fall asleep.
However, as you can see, we have been actively interacting with light (especially blue light) for decades, even when it is dark.
Automatically, our internal receptors receiving light disrupt our circadian rhythm by telling it that it is daytime and that it must therefore remain awake!
This results in the lack of secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
What solutions against insomnia?
There are several methods, more or less reputable, to deal with insomnia and sleep disorders in general.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening
From about 4 hours before going to bed, it is essential to avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, sweetened or energy drinks.
Caffeine stimulates brain activity and therefore has a negative effect on sleep.
- Adopt a healthy nutritional rhythm
Eating is a matter of habit. Disrupting this habit also affects our sleep. For example, eating large or late meals just before bedtime can disrupt sleep. Therefore, it is important to find your own rhythm about when and how much you eat at night.
- Limit screens at night
In order for the body to calm down before you fall asleep, you should try to avoid movies and cell phone/computer games before going to sleep.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the blue light from screens affects your sleep by making your brain feel like it's still daytime and therefore needs to stay active. This alters your circadian cycle and pushes back the release of melatonin in your body.
- Use the night mode on your screen
The Night Shift mode found on most electronic devices (phones, computers, tablets...) reduces the amount of blue light your screen projects. The night mode allows you to modify the colors of your screen by adding a warmer tint.
- Go for a pair of blue light blocking glasses
Very popular in the world of gaming for a few years now, blue light blocking glasses act as a beacon in the night for many screen enthusiasts.
Why are they so popular? Gaming glasses answer several problems that arise for each person regularly in front of screens.
- Their glasses, transparent or with a yellow tint, filter blue light more efficiently than any other tool.
- Their usefulness has been approved by a multitude of scientific studies as well as by many users of blue light glasses themselves.
- "If you feel good, you will play well". Easy to understand, it is when we feel good in our skin, in our clothes and accessories, that we are capable of the best. The blue light blocking glasses (also called gaming glasses) are an integral part of the modern gamer's setup.
Faced with problems related to sleep, blue light is a factor not to be neglected. Over time, the damage caused by this light on our body can be devastating.
Insomnia as well as sleep disorders in general are signs not to be neglected. Moreover, blue light does not only affect our ability to fall asleep, but also on other fronts such as vision problems, especially as we age.
Limiting the amount of blue light affecting our body by trying one of the methods mentioned above, or simply a pair of blue light blocking glasses, can only be beneficial.