Blue Light vs Sleep

by Ammar Asad September 22, 2021 2 min read

Person using their phone whilst in bed

Blue Light vs Sleep - How Does Blue Light Impact Your Sleep

 

We may not be aware of how constantly we are exposed to light during the day - this could be through our mobile phones, laptops, tablets or even the TV.

However, you need to be consuming the right kinds of light. For example, sunlight is a good source of vitamin D and beneficial as a deficiency of vitamin D can hurt your health. Being exposed to certain blue or white lights can positively impact your mood and alertness levels. The presence of blue light is constant via the electronic devices that we use in our daily lives, however, excessive exposure can be bad and lead to poor sleep.

Light comprises electromagnetic radiation, producing energy. Every wavelength of light comes in various colours depending on the energy it contains. There are several different colours of light that exist and they are listed as follows below:

  • Blue light

  • Yellow/orange light

  • Red light

  • White light (combination of all lights)

 

Visible light is a small component that is made by the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be visually perceived in the rainbow. Though blue light is only a small aspect of this spectrum, it plays an important role in our ability to function.

One of the most vital environmental factors is light which determines your circadian rhythm and your cyclical relationship. Initially, our circadian cycles were influenced by the sun, however, the invention of electronic devices and artificial light have also played a role in regulating sleep. So considering this, let's look at the impact that blue light has on your sleep.

 

Can blue light have an impact on your sleep?

Disrupted sleep takes place when the rhythm of your body clock is disturbed by human activity, for instance being exposed to bright light or conventionalised light.

If you expose yourself to blue light or white light before getting into or whilst in bed, then this can lead to disturbances in your sleep.

Diagram showing how sleep is affected by blue light

 

As mentioned above, an adequate level of exposure to blue light is good for your health and well-being, however, excessive amounts of exposure can harm both your sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. On the other hand, lights such as red, blue, yellow or orange have a minute to no effect on your sleep-wake cycle and are harmless to utilise at night time.

Exposure to blue light can suppress the production of the sleep hormone that governs your body clock, which is known as melatonin. Also, it can result in insufficient production of melatonin, thus affecting your ability to go to sleep or stay sleeping.

Furthermore, a little amount of blue light at night can affect our resting period. Research conducted by Stephen Lockley observed that the brightness level exceeded by the majority of table lamps can also impact your sleep cycle, suggesting that light exposure at night time is a significant explanation for being sleep deprived. So make sure to limit the exposure to blue light through the use of electronic devices at night for a better and quality night's sleep.

Ammar Asad
Ammar Asad


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