Sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, due to the ever busy everyday routine, people sleep much less than they used to in the past. Moreover, sleep quality has also gone down. This results in a number of health problems such as heart disease, depression and obesity etc. LED artificial lighting is one of the main causes of reduced sleep quality and problems. That’s because these devices contain a blue wavelength which makes your brain into thinking nighttime as daytime.
Results of different studies suggest that the consumption of blue light during the evening disrupts brain’s natural sleep cycle. If you are wondering about what exactly is a blue light, it is briefly shared below:
What Exactly is a Blue Light?
Light is composed of different colors but not all have the same effect. Blue wavelength known to benefit health during the day time, has a counterproductive effect at night. Due to the increased usage of smart gadgets and electronics, our exposures to blue wavelengths have increased, especially after the sunset.
Relation between Light and Sleep
Every individual has a distinct circadian rhythms, however, on average the length of circadian rhythm is 24 and one-quarter hour. People who stay up late have a slightly longer circadian rhythm than those who go to bed early. According to Dr. Charles Czeisler (Harvard Medical School), the daylight keeps a person’s internal clock proportional to the natural environment.
Is Light Exposure During the Nighttime Bad?
According to some studies, a link has been found between light exposure during the night time to some serious health issues such as cancer, headaches, obesity and heart problems. However, it can not be clearly said that nighttime light is the main cause of these issues. However, what we do know is that the light decreases the secretion of melatonin, responsible for maintaining circadian rhythms. Lower melatonin levels explain a link with cancer.
According to a Harvard study, a correlation of light exposure at night time with diabetes as well as obesity has been found . The research was conducted on 10 people whose circadian rhythms were shifted. As a result the blood sugar levels were increased. This resulted in a prediabetic state for them.
An individual’s circadian rhythm is also affected by dim light at night. Light emitted by lamps upto eight lux has an effect . Nighttime light is also the reason why people don’t get to finish their regular 7 to 8 hours of sleep. This results in an increased risk for depression for many people.
Exposure through LED Blue Light
The fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights are energy efficient compared to the old fashioned incandescent light bulbs that we all have grown up with. However, they also produce higher levels of blue light. Although the fluorescent lights can be changed by reducing the coatings inside to produce warm and less blue light. The ordinary lights also have some levels of bluelight but it is less compared to the fluorescent light bulbs.
What about the Effects of blue light and sleep?
Though any light decreases melatonin secretion at nighttime, blue light has an adverse effect on the health of an individual. Researchers at Harvard university compared exposure of blue light to that of green light for a period of 6.5 hours. Blue light was found to decrease melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and also changed the circadian rhythms twice as much.
Another study conducted at the University of Toronto compared melatonin levels of individuals to the bright indoor light individuals wearing blue-light blocking goggles. The hormone levels were found to be the same in both groups which indicates how strongly the blue light suppresses melatonin.
Block it through Blue Light Glasses
The researchers suggest to block the blue light through the use of blue light glasses for people working night shifts. However, make sure to get the glasses that blocks just the blue light. Blue light glasses provides an easy way for avoiding blue light exposure during the night time.
The glasses help to block all the blue night to prevent your brain from confusing the nighttime with the daytime.
According to studies, people using blue light glasses in brightly lit rooms or while sitting in front of a screen can produce the same melatonin levels as they would if it was all dark. The study compared the melatonin levels across different light levels from dim, bright to bright with tinted glasses.
Bright light was the main culprit for decreasing melatonin production whereas dim light didn’t have any effect. However, individuals wearing the glasses had the same melatonin levels as those who were sitting in the dim light. The blue light glasses suppress decreased melatonin effect of the bright light. Moreover, it also improves the sleep time and mind growth.
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