You’ve probably heard about this before. In that case, use it as a reminder, you can’t hear it often enough.
Screens and bright lights will decrease the quality of your sleep tremendously.
Screens mainly emit blue light and this type of light suppresses melatonin (a sleep hormone) the most. It doesn’t matter how big the screen is or what kind of screen it is. As soon as it’s backlit your sleep will suffer.
This is also important, since too little sleep and low-quality sleep has been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart diseases, and other diseases.
Although the producers suggest that ebook readers are better, studies found out that ebook readers with backlight are disrupting your sleep the same way a normal tablet does.
Unfortunately, room lighting can have almost the same effect, according to researchers. One study found out, that being exposed to 1000 lux at night, which is considered normal room lighting, can reset the melatonin to daytime levels.
It’s not 100% sure, but being exposed to lower light intensity, i.e. 500 lux, might have the same effect when experienced over a longer time, i.e. two hours at 500 lux equals one hour at 1000 lux since melatonin levels are intensity dependent.
The probability that you belong to this group of sleep sufferers, who use a screen before bed is quite high since already 95% of Americans do this, at least, a few times a week.
Think about your own behavior in the evening or at night. Do you check your emails or message before going to bed? Do you watch TV or read on your iPad?
Those are all potential disruptors for your sleep.
Gladly there are several solutions to avoid the negative effects on your sleep, without moving into a cave.
The best thing you can do is to reduce your exposure to screens and bright light before going to bed. At least one hour before going to bed turn off your electronics. Also, try to turn down your lights in your house.
If those measures are too invasive for you, there are other options. For starters, you should install f.lux, a free software that decreases the blue light that emitted from your screen, on all your computers. You’ll learn about it in the next tip.
It was available for iOS as well, but Apple blocked it. Gladly Apple realized the need for such a software and they are going to include it in iOS 9.3 under the name ‘Night Shift’. If you are using Android there are apps like ‘Nightfilter’ or ‘Twilight’.
One of the best solutions is getting blue light blocking glasses. They look like sunglasses with orange lenses. If you don’t mind looking a bit dorky (who cares at home?), those might be the best option for you since they will block the shortwave, i.e. blue light from every source.
Whether it’s from your screen or from your room lighting. A good pair is made by Uvex, which is $10 on amazon.com. If you wear glasses you need to get covers for them, i.e. from Solar Shield.
Reducing your exposure to screens and bright lights, while blocking blue light in any form will have tremendous effects on your sleep. You will sleep and feel better. It’s easy, try it.
Steps to take:
- Reduce your exposure to blue light in the evening, by turning off your electronics.
- Install f.lux.
- Get blue-light blocking glasses.