3.5 tips to save your sleep from the blue light of death

Up until two weeks ago, getting a good night’s sleep had become as elusive as the mythical fountain of youth. Like my energy filled toddler, I would spend an hour flipping and flopping until I finally fell asleep. I had even become a very light sleeper; even the slightest sound would wake me up. What follows are a few things I learned about blue light, electronics, and how a few tiny changes can help us all get a more restful night of sleep.

Please allow me to share a tiny physics and biology lesson. A combination of different colors produces what we know as light. When a raindrop acts like a prism it breaks light into its component colors creating a beautiful rainbow.

Melatonin, produced in the brain’s pineal gland, is our “go to sleep” hormone. Our bodies ramp up melatonin production in the afternoon. Melatonin levels remain high until early morning. 

 

There is a direct link between melatonin production and the amount of light we see. Reduced sunlight, which occurs in the fall and winter, can even cause Seasonal Affective Disorder. By emitting blue light our electronics sabotage melatonin production. Holding electronics inches from our face is like telling our brain we’re sitting on a sunny beach when it’s actually midnight.

The solution is super simple. Power down your phones at sunset.

Calm down! Kidding! That’ll never happen! Luckily there are 3.5 SIMPLE ways to get more restful sleep.

1. Filter blue light on electronics. Twilight is a simple Android app that can be setup to reduce blue light at sunset. The iPhone has a built-in night mode feature that is accessible via Settings -> Display -> Night Mode. For my desktop, I use F.Lux which is simple to use and also set up to auto dim at sunset. You can even reduce the amount of blue light your TV emits.

2. Any light bulb above 3500K on the chart below emits the same blue light that is wrecking your sleep.

I love daylight colored bulbs (4500K+) so I now reduce my exposure to those lights in the evening. I even turn off my office lights at sunset and work in the dark.

3. Train your brain to associate your bed with sleep. As my doctor told me, the bed is only for 2 things and sleep is one of them. Reading, chatting, and internet browsing should occur outside of the bedroom. Plus we shouldn’t crank up our mental engines right before we need to calm down and sleep.

3.5. Remember these sunglasses?

I was SHOCKED that the very day I implemented these tips I started to get tired at 9 PM and I slept hard for 8 straight hours!

I’m excited for your feedback and please do share any tips you have on getting a restful night of sleep.

Recent Posts