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Blue Light & Sleep

Blue Light & Sleep

Blue Light and Sleep: Is Your Quality of Rest Being Compromised?

As our world continues to become increasingly connected to digital devices, the conversation about the effects of blue light is starting to pick up. Blue light is emitted by tablets, computers, cell phones, and natural sources such as the sun. This form of light serves an essential role in our ability to stay alert and awake during the day, as well as our ability to get restful sleep at night. However, when introduced at the wrong time, blue light has the ability to disrupt our circadian rhythm. Additionally, when used for excessive amounts of time (especially at night), blue light has other harmful impacts. Learn more about blue light and sleep, how this type of light impacts the body, and how to reduce exposure.

 

What is Blue Light and Where Do We Get Exposure?

Blue light is one of many forms of light in the visible spectrum. It has one of the shortest wavelengths, and as a result, is one of the most energetic. This form of light flickers much more than other types of wavelengths, and can cause eye strain and headaches. Blue light is naturally produced by the sun, which is actually to our benefit. Without being exposed to natural blue light, both our sleep quality and energy levels would suffer greatly. During the day, the blue light from the sun causes us to feel awake, energetic, and alert. As this light is reduced in the evening hours, production of the hormone melatonin begins to rise, which helps create restful sleep.

 

Because of its properties, blue light is used as an effective way to light electronic devices. This type of artificial blue light is used in devices such as computers, televisions, cell phones, tablets, and more. 

 

Effects of Blue Light on Sleep and Cortisol Levels

After reading about the primary purpose of blue light, it is easy to see how blue light and sleep are connected. For thousands of years, our natural source of blue light (the sun) was able to function as it should. In modern times, however, the common practice of watching TV and checking phones and computers before bed is disrupting our quality of evening rest. The normal process that is supposed to occur immediately before and during sleep is no longer happening as it should for most individuals. Levels of cortisol (commonly known as the hormone that is released when experiencing stress) are supposed to be non-existent before sleep. This allows melatonin to be released, which produces restful sleep. When individuals are exposed to blue light too close to going to sleep, this balance is interrupted. If cortisol levels are too high, proper levels of melatonin will not be released when they should. 

 

It is no surprise, then, that so many people these days are seeking prescription and over-the-counter sleep aid medications. If more people knew about the connection between blue light and sleep, more individuals could address the root cause, and get the quality of sleep that they need.

 

Other Effects of Blue Light

In addition to the issues related to blue light and sleep, this type of light has been linked to other major health consequences. Studies have linked regular blue light exposure at night (especially for those who work night shifts) to conditions such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Experts believe that this increased risk of disease might be linked to the disruption of the release of melatonin. Additionally, changes in blood sugar and other hormones may also play a role in these conditions.

 

Also, excessive exposure to blue light from televisions, computers, and more can cause irreversible damage to the eyes. Damage to the retinas, as well as age-related macular degeneration, have been linked to blue light exposure.

 

Reducing Evening Exposure to Blue Light

Since research has made it clear that blue light and sleep do not mix, it is important to take steps to reduce your exposure to artificial blue light in the evening hours. Follow as many of these tips as possible to achieve optimum sleep and reduce your risk of health conditions linked to excessive blue light exposure.

 

Why Not Use Melatonin to Sleep Instead?

You might be wondering why I haven’t recommended taking melatonin supplements to boost the reduced melatonin levels. Melatonin only works for one to two months, and then needs to be stopped. The true solution to the issues caused by blue light on sleep is to eliminate the source of the problem. By addressing the root cause of blue light and sleep issues, you can eliminate the need to take an extra supplement, and have a long-term solution. 

 

Benefits of Blocking Blue Light Before Sleeping

Rather than covering up the cause of poor sleep quality, you will experience lasting results by eliminating excessive exposure to blue light. By understanding that blue light and sleep issues are so closely linked, you can take steps to limit your exposure hours before bedtime, rather than taking a sleep aid or supplement. After reducing your exposure to blue light at night, you can expect to experience the following benefits:

 

How Does This Topic Relate to Chiropractic Care? 

When an injury has occurred, sleep is vital in assisting the body in healing. Poor sleep may contribute to an injury lingering. Chiropractic can assist with this issue, we are focused on finding the root cause of your pain. Chiropractic has a wide spectrum of benefits that affect the whole body. Treatmeant has been shown to have a calming effect and may aid in sleep quality.

Author
Elite Family Chiropractic - Chiropractor Charleston, SC Brad Gorski DC, FSBT At Elite Family Chiropractic in Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Brad Gorski is a top-ranked chiropractor offering effective treatment options for back pain, knee pain, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, migraines, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and more. Dr. Gorski received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 2008. He has completed extensive post-graduate training, becoming qualified in Hospital Based Spine Care, MRI Interpretation Review, and Trauma while also completing a Fellowship in Spinal Biomechanics and Trauma. He provides chiropractic care and helps his patients achieve their goal of optimum health and wellness.

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