The short-wavelength blue light, emitted by the screens we watch—computers, smart phones, tablets—disrupts our internal body clock; here’s more:
The science of sleep
Scientists have repeatedly warned us that using electronic gadgets before bed affects both the quantity and quality of our sleep. Now a new study proves this: researchers from the University of Haifa and Assuta Sleep Clinic found that it’s the short-wavelength blue light from our computers, phones and tablets that affects the duration of our sleep, and even more so, the quality of our slumber. Also of note is that screens emitting red light was found to not be harmful, only the blue light that damages the body’s cycles and our sleep, explains one of the study authors Prof. Abraham Haim.
Blue light, red light
Sunlight also contains blue light and it’s what helps keep us awake and is an essential part of how our sleep cycles work. However, exposure to blue light before you go to bed—from looking at electronic devices—effectively tricks our brains into believing it’s still daytime. This suppresses the production of our melatonin, the hormone secreted at night that prepares the body for sleep. Prof. Haim says that his study, which was published in the journal Chronobiology International, showed that red light from screens did not seem to cause any disruption to sleep; only the blue light.
According to the study’s researchers, the most significant finding in terms of the disruption of sleep was that exposure to blue light drastically disrupts the continuity of sleep. Study participants were found to have as many as 7.6 awakenings during the night following exposure to strong blue light. Accordingly, it is hardly surprising that the participants reported they felt more tired and in a worse mood after exposure to blue light.
It’s not the screens themselves that damage our biological clock, and therefore our sleep, but the short-wave blue light that they emit, concludes Prof. Haim. There are special glasses and also various apps that can filter the problematic blue light on the spectrum and replace it with weak red light, thereby reducing the damage to the suppression of melatonin.
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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