New studies show that our electronic devices may be impairing our sleep quality.
Sleep quality, electronic devices, and medical studies, oh my! If this sounds like a scary prospect, don’t worry, it’s not so bad! Here at Produce Love, we like to see things in a positive light (pun intended). Blue light or no, sleep quality can be improved at little to no cost, without jeopardizing our electronic enjoyment!
The tl;dr (too long, didn’t read): yes, using electronic devices will reduce your sleep quality. Sleep quality is important, many of our bodily regenerative functions require it. We give you simple solutions!
A snippet from a study done recently by the University of Houston:
Study participants, ages 17-42, wore short wavelength-blocking glasses three hours before bedtime for two weeks, while still performing their nightly digital routine. Results showed about a 58 percent increase in their nighttime melatonin levels, the chemical that signals your body that it’s time to sleep. Those levels are even higher than increases from over-the-counter melatonin supplements, according to Dr. Lisa Ostrin, the UH College of Optometry assistant professor who had lead the study. — Source
Anecdotally, I’ve personally been a computer geek for my whole life. I have always had trouble falling asleep and feel that I could improve the quality of my own sleep by limiting my exposure. But I enjoy the exposure I have to my electronic devices. Whether that’s good or not is the topic of another discussion, but I digress.
Traditionally humans have spent their entire evolutionary lives exposed only to the natural elements. Blue light from the sun is only an issue during the day, nobody was used to exposing their eyes to these lights quite like we’ve started in recent generations. Think about it for a moment, we wake up to an alarm (often on our phone), check the screen. We look at the weather (on a computer, tv, phone), we check the news, we message our friends, many of us go to a job where we sit at a computer all day, and then in the evening our entertainment often comes from electronic devices up until we fall asleep. Our generation is easily exposed to blue light during every waking hour. Mileage may vary for you of course!
It is a cause for concern for a lot of people. But don’t fret, now that you realize you’re being exposed to elements which cause you to lose sleep quality, we’ll propose a few simple solutions:
- Limit screen time
- Apply screen filters
- Wear computer glasses that block blue light
- Use anti-reflective lenses to offset the effects of artificial light at nighttime
- Turn on “night mode” in your device settings
1. Limit screen time to improve overall sleep quality
Some advice I would personally give is to start a gym membership (or perform calisthenics workouts). Why? Because exercise is extremely beneficial to your health, it improves sleep quality, and it will remove your eyes from your electronic device while you’re performing the workouts. It is also a well-known fact that healthy exercise releases endorphins!
Endorphin is a combination of the words “endogenou” (produced within the body) and “morphine” They’re released from the pituitary gland of the brain during periods of strenuous exercise, emotional stress, pain, and orgasm. Endorphins help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.
You can double-up on your sleep quality benefits by simultaneously reducing the amount of time looking at electronic devices and exercising regularly.
I personally would recommend checking out your local Planet Fitness or similar facility. They charge as little as $10 per month for a membership. Alternatively, resistance bands, or other similar workout equipment is a great at-home alternative to gym memberships. See my other blog posts about fitness and exercise for more information on that subject!
2. Apply a screen protector to your device that blocks blue light
For other related products, click here to check out what is available on Amazon, you can search for your specific device and find a screen protector that eliminates blue light to improve sleep quality.
There certainly are relatively inexpensive ways to mitigate exposure to blue light from your electronic devices. I’d recommend screen protectors/filters for anyone who wants to also protect their screen from damage. If you scratch your screen, you just replace the protector instead of the expensive glass or composite screen material that your device is made of. For those that prefer not to use screen filters, then some of the other options may be great for you.
3. Wear computer glasses that block blue light
I used to work as an optician for an optometrist, and we sold computer glasses (they were an expensive brand but do the same thing as other types of glasses) that blocked blue light. I remember the doctors all unanimously agreed that these glasses were great for your eye health. During work, I would wear them whenever I felt a headache about to happen, and it definitely helped me.
These glasses have amazing reviews and use the same materials that I have tried and experienced success with.
I was skeptical of these – they struck me as a gimmick, but lately, my eyes had been really bothering me. I telecommute and am on the computer 3-7 hours a day, and in the past few weeks, I was getting disoriented vision and lots of headaches. I have a history of really intense migraines with neurological symptoms, and too much screen time plus not enough water can be a trigger for me, so I wanted something to make the necessary evil of being online all day easier to bear.
These really do work, I can see them reflecting blue light back out, and looking at a screen is noticeably less harsh. I’ve only had one headache in a week since using these, as opposed to having one every day before, and my eyes feel so much healthier and more focused. I’m seriously blown away by how much of a help these have been. – 5/5 Satisfied Customer Review
If you need a prescription, you can visit your local optometrist and inquire about RX (prescription) wear computer glasses. Otherwise, there are plenty of options online.
4. Use anti-reflective lenses to offset the effects of artificial light at nighttime
If you don’t get computer glasses specifically, you can also benefit by adding Anti-Reflective coatings or having it baked into your lens at your optometrist. This is usually about $20-100 extra (depending on the dr. and the quality of the AR material).
It’s very common for polycarbonate lenses to have AR properties. Not only is this beneficial for computer usage, but also during the day while driving or even when you’re shopping at the grocery store. If you’ve ever been bothered by reflections on your glasses (or maybe you’ve just gotten used to it), then you should inquire about anti reflective properties. It makes a huge difference for glasses wearers. You can find reviews about it all over the internet.
5. Turn on “night mode” in your device settings
If you’re not sure how to do this, check out one of the guided tutorials for your device on YouTube!
I have my Samsung Galaxy S8 set up to automatically adjust after 9 pm. That way I don’t have to even think about setting it.
What do you think about blue light affecting your sleep? Leave your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!Sleep is the best meditation. - Dalai Lama Click To Tweet