Those of you who use tablets, smartphones, and other devices with self-luminous electronic displays before bedtime are subjecting yourself to major disruptions in your sleep cycle.
Research has demonstrated that nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles.
A reduction in melatonin at night is associated with subjective levels of sleeplessness, and has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair immune system function, and possibly lead to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease.
The key to improving sleep is to reduce one’s exposure to blue light, the type of light that is mainly responsible for melatonin suppression.
One method of blocking blue light is to use a program called f.lux, which makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
This program can be installed on computers, iPads, and iPhones, and may have a significant effect on your melatonin secretion when using these devices at night. The best part about this program is that it turns on automatically in response to the daylight in your particular time zone, so there’s no need to remember any adjustments to the screen.
Where f.lux falls short is it’s inability to block all artificial light sources that suppress melatonin production (i.e. normal room light). So, experts recommend a more fool-proof solution.
Amber-colored goggles are one of the only tools available to completely eliminate all blue light exposure at night, without ‘going off the grid’ and powering down your entire house after 7 PM.
If you think you may benefit from any of the solutions mentioned above, please use the links above. Purchases will help support ongoing research.
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