Is your phone keeping you awake?
We’ve heard the reports that using our mobile devices before bedtime is a sure way to disrupt our sleep. Digital devices are emitting greater amounts of blue LED light these days in comparison to other light sources in our house. Recent studies show that blue light suppresses melatonin (the hormone the brain produces at night to induce sleepiness) more effectively than any other visible wavelength, potentially leaving people more alert when they would otherwise start feeling drowsy.
During the day, a little extra blue light from our computer doesn’t make a difference when we’re already getting so much from the environment. But all that changes at night. How many of us check our email, play a game, or look at Facebook before we turn off the bedside lamp? I know I”m guilty of it almost every night.
So if blue light before bed is bad for us, what are we supposed to do?
Some sources suggest a cool down period before we go to bed, making sure we turn off the screens at least a few hours before bedtime. But is this reasonable? For some, maybe. But for the rest of us, apps and native device settings can help.
F.lux is a free software tool that is both Mac and Windows compatible, and once set up, it will slowly adjust the hue of your computer screen as the sun sets. I have it on all my computers and you don’t really notice the change until you turn it off. Twilight is a popular blue light blocking app for Android, and Night Shift is an anti-blue light feature built into iOs 9.3 and later.
We know these apps combat the blue light effect, but the jury is still out on if they really help us sleep better. I’ve set blue light blockers on all my digital devices because I figure it can’t hurt!
Have you experimented with any of these blue light blockers?
Have they helped you fall asleep?
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