5 min read
While our body will receive an ample amount of blue light from the sun, which is beneficial, exposure to artificial blue light emitted from TVs, tablets, and smartphones, among other digital devices, is detrimental. For example, the artificial blue light emitted from scrolling through your phone will leave you tossing and turning on your bed at 4 am. Every time you check your phone at night, you absorb a lot of artificial blue light, which affects your circadian rhythm, natural sleep cycle, and melatonin production.
The circadian rhythm is responsible for keeping us awake during the day and makes us feel sleepy at night. The circadian rhythm lasts for 24 hours and is also applicable to animals and plants, and is controlled by the hypothalamus. When the sun sets and darkness sets in, your eyes will communicate with the hypothalamus, which will then trigger the production of melatonin by the pineal gland. This hormone makes our bodies feel tired, and its levels remain elevated for about 12 hours (all night) in the hope that you will get sufficient sleep. If you have ever stayed awake during the night, you might have noticed how difficult it was when trying to sleep the next day, that is your circadian rhythm falling off balance.
According to research, the continuous exposure to artificial blue light will interrupt the body's process of shutting down to sleep by inhibiting the production of melatonin. A research done in 2017 by the University of Haifa found that exposure to blue light would negatively affect the production of melatonin and reduce an individual's duration of sleep by about 16 minutes. The study concluded that exposure to blue light possesses drastic effects on the continuity of sleep. This disrupts the normal functioning of the body's biological clock and natural mechanisms. Therefore, taking a moment to go through your social media feed will reduce your chances of getting quality sleep.
According to Professor Abraham Haim, one way of preventing ourselves from the artificial blue light emitted from smartphones, tablets, and computers, includes the use of filters that will trap all the harmful blue light and keep it away from our eyes. Another study done in 2017 by the Journal of the College of Optometrists shows that by using blue light blocking glasses consecutively for two weeks, the participant's sleep duration increased by 24 minutes. The researchers concluded that using short-wavelength blocking glasses at night would help boost the sleep duration, production of melatonin, and sleep quality.