Both natural and artificial blue light can boost your alertness and mental sharpness however too much of it may keep you awake when your body needs to wind down.
What is blue light?
Blue light is a colour in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by human eyes. It has a short wavelength, which means it produces high amounts of energy. Blue light is part of the light we get from the sun. We receive most in the middle of the day, and much less at sunrise and sunset. Exposure to blue light during daylight hours can boost attention, reaction times, and mood. However, exposure to blue light in the evening can make it hard to get to sleep.
Sources of blue light
Blue light is part of the light we get from the sun but it is also emitted from gadgets including:
- Fluorescent lights
- LED lights
- Computer screens
- Video game consoles
The good news is that the risks of nighttime blue light exposure can be reduced through relatively simple and fast methods.
How does blue light disrupt sleep?
Exposure to all colours of light helps control your natural sleep-and-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. More so than any other color, blue light messes with your body’s ability to prepare for sleep because it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy.
This means you may well be less drowsy than usual at night, and it takes you longer to fall asleep.
How to minimise your blue light exposure
You can’t avoid blue light completely, but there are ways to limit your exposure.
- Limiting screen time – especially before bed time
- Using screen filters to lower blue light exposure
- Wearing blue light-blocking glasses, yellow-tinted computer glasses, or glasses with anti-reflective lenses
According to Christopher Barnes – Professor of Management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business providing blue light-filtering glasses to employees may be an unusually practical solution for improving employee sleep, productivity and work outcomes.
Shiftwork Services uses evidence based practice and ‘practical know how’ to help individuals sleep better, feel better, work better