This is likely the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep quality immediately. The artificial blue light emitted by electronic screens triggers your body to produce more daytime hormones (like cortisol) and disorient your body’s natural preparation for sleep.
Computers, iPads, televisions, smartphones, etc., are kicking out a sleep-sucking blue spectrum of light that can give you major sleep problems. Have you ever driven down your neighborhood street at night and seen that majestic blue light beaming out of people’s windows? You’re probably like a) I wonder what they’re watching? or b) I wonder if they’re getting abducted by aliens?
Mariana Figueiro, of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic, and her team showed that two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness was enough to suppress people’s normal night time release of melatonin. When your melatonin secretion is thrown off, it will intrinsically throw off your normal sleep cycle.
Figueiro also noted that if this night time device usage happened on a long-term basis, it could lead to a chronic disruption of circadian rhythms. As a result, the likelihood of serious health issues can skyrocket. It’s important to remember that our cultural use of these electronic devices has only been possible for the last few decades; first with the advent of television, and then really exploding with the advent of laptops, tablets, and smartphones in just the last 10 years. Millions of years of evolution versus 10 years of late-night meandering does not favor our ability to adapt to this anytime soon.
As human beings, we are literally not designed to stare into the type of light emanating from these devices. When it comes to night time usage, we want to be like the little girl in Poltergeist and “stay away from the light.”
Technology we have today is amazing. We just need to have more awareness and more respect for our body’s natural processes.
Screen Protection Power Tip # 1
If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs, make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime. If you ignore this, you will continue to have sleeping issue.
Screen Protection Power Tip # 2
Use an alternative medium for night time activity. Remember those papery things called books? You can actually open one of those ancient relics and enjoy consuming a great story, inspiration, or education that way. And, remember when people actually talked to each other face-to-face? You can talk to the people in your life, listen to how their day went, find out what they’re excited about, and what they may be struggling with. They can obviously do the same for you too. In our world, where we are more connected than ever before in some ways, we are desperately lacking connection in others. Getting off our electronic devices, having a conversation, and showing affection is vital to our long-term health and well-being.
Screen Protection Power Tip # 3
Use a blue light blocker. Extenuating circumstances come up, and you may need to be on the computer later than you want. This is where cool advancements in technology can come in to help smooth things out. On my Mac, I have a free application called flux that automatically eliminates the problematic blue light from my computer screen at a certain time each day (you can get similar things for your smartphone and other devices too). But, again, the best solution is to shut down the technology at least 90 minutes before bed, if you’re serious about getting great sleep. If that’s not feasible, this is a tool you can use that can definitely help you along the way.