Poor sleep can be caused by elec­tronic de­vices emit­ting blue light

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Veli Solyali

We all have busy lives, these days more than ever. Mount­ing pres­sure to per­form at work, to make the per­fect meal and of course, gen­eral day-to-day stress. We are more con­nected and on­line than ever be­fore. What does this mean for our bod­ies? As you read this, are you in bed? If so, are you are read­ing on an elec­tronic de­vice in your own peace­ful do­main? The bed was meant for tran­quil­lity, for rest, re­ju­ve­na­tion, cer­tain adult ac­tiv­i­ties and most of all sleep but is now be­ing used in­creas­ingly for other ac­tiv­i­ties such as read­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing on elec­tronic de­vices.


It is the in­tense, short-wave­length blue light which is part of the vis­i­ble light spec­trum. Your body uses blue light from the sun to reg­u­late your nat­u­ral sleep­ing and wak­ing cy­cles. This is known as your cir­ca­dian rhythm. Blue light dur­ing the day, helps boost alert­ness, im­prove re­ac­tion times, el­e­vate moods and in­crease the feel­ing of well­be­ing.

Sleep and sleep­ing pat­terns are af­fected by blue light.


Be­sides the nat­u­ral source of blue light from the sun, there are now many other sources of blue light, from dig­i­tal screens of TVs, com­put­ers, lap­tops, smart phones, tablets, elec­tronic de­vices, flu­o­res­cent and LED light­ing. Be­cause of their wide-spread use and in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity, we are grad­u­ally be­ing ex­posed to more and more sources of blue light and for longer pe­ri­ods of time.


Blue light emit­ted from these sources has an ad­verse ef­fect on your body. Blue light tells your brain that it isn’t time to sleep and in­ter­rupts your body’s cir­ca­dian rhythm. Too much ex­po­sure to blue light at night low­ers the pro­duc­tion of me­la­tonin, the hor­mone that reg­u­lates sleep and thus a low level of me­la­tonin dis­rupts the cir­ca­dian rhythm. You may fall asleep, but how long will you stay asleep? What is the qual­ity of your sleep like? Imag­ine wak­ing up day af­ter day feel­ing un­rested, tired and hav­ing ex­treme lethargy. Wak­ing up search­ing for a hit of caf­feine, or your smoothie, just to gain some sort of en­ergy. By hav­ing a good night’s sleep, your body is fully charged and ready for your next day. If you are well rested, you will be alert. When was the last time you had a re­ally re­fresh­ing sleep?


Be­cause ex­po­sure to blue light at night light sup­presses the se­cre­tion of me­la­tonin, then lower me­la­tonin lev­els keeps the level of me­tab­o­lism of the body higher and de­prives the body of time to re­pair it­self and sleep. Ex­po­sure to blue light might ex­plain the as­so­ci­a­tion with types of health prob­lems in­clud­ing sev­eral types of can­cer (breast, prostate), di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, obe­sity and an in­creased risk of de­pres­sion.


We now know what the is­sue is, but what are you go­ing to do about it? There is one ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion: no de­vices in the bed­room. This means no tele­vi­sion, no lap­top, no tablet, no e-reader, no mo­bile or smart­phone and no brightly lit clock. Imag­ine that! The temp­ta­tion is gone. How­ever, this is some­times a lit­tle un­re­al­is­tic, so an­other method of com­bat­ing the blue light is­sue is to dim the lights as much as pos­si­ble on these de­vices. If you have a night-light, try us­ing red light, which has the least ef­fect on your body clock.

Fi­nally, you can al­ways go for a walk dur­ing day­light, which will in­crease your abil­ity to sleep, help with your mood and alert­ness dur­ing the day. It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion!

Me­la­tonin is the hor­mone that reg­u­lates sleep and thus a low level dis­rupts the cir­ca­dian rhythm.

If you can’t bring your­self to get rid of these e-gad­gets, then try to limit their use.

Dr Veli Solyali is a Chi­ro­prac­tor, Anatomist, Sleep Ex­pert and Founder of Get Well Bed­ding, an Aus­tralian-owned bou­tique bed­ding com­pany. He has been a lec­turer at var­i­ous Uni­ver­si­ties across Aus­tralia in Anatomy, Med­i­cal and Di­ag­nos­tic Sci­ences and Sur­gi­cal Anatomy. He is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor in the Aus­tralian me­dia in the ar­eas of Sleep, Health and Anatomy. Dr Solyali can be con­tacted through his web­site.

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