Having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone, and according to Harvard Medical School, your lighting may be the culprit!
Studies show that exposure to blue light, the wavelength closest to ultraviolet on the light spectrum, can affect your sleep cycle
Remember: as recently as 200 years ago, people lived by the light of the sun and slept by the light of the moon. The body’s biological clock—or circadian rhythm—followed this pattern naturally. Evening illumination came by candle, torch, hearth and other fire-based lighting. Then, electric lighting began to fill homes, and suddenly people stayed up long past the setting sun.
Like Day and Night
These days, we’re exposed to high amounts of blue light technology including our phones, computers and tablets—even energy-efficient lighting. In fact, the latest energy-efficient lighting—compact fluorescent and LED lights—produce more blue light than old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs.
A limited amount of blue light is considered helpful during the day because it helps improve attention and mood. Exposure to blue light at night, however, can interrupt your sleep pattern.
Healthy Eyes are Happy Eyes
When it comes to your health, the lighting you live and work with matters!
- Harvard University researchers studied the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light vs. green light. They found blue light suppressed melatonin—the body’s natural hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep—and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much as the green light.
- A University of Toronto study found people wearing blue-light blocking goggles while exposed to bright indoor lighting ended up with similar melatonin levels as those exposed to regular dim lighting without goggles—reinforcing the theory that blue light suppresses melatonin.
- Another Harvard study found a possible connection between shifting circadian rhythms and increased risk of diabetes and obesity. Other studies have shown that disrupting circadian rhythms can not only aggravate metabolic disorders but encourage cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
Sleep Better. Feel Better.
To get a good night’s sleep, experts suggest avoiding bright screens 2–3 hours before bedtime. For workers who use a lot of electronic devices at night, blue blocking glasses or screen covers may help. Lastly, make sure both your day and evening task lighting blocks out as much blue light as possible. Check out these Dr. Lite blue light blocking lamps to keep your eyes happy and healthy!