There’s a real buzz about blue light exposure at the moment. It’s not new, but it is being shown to be having a detrimental effect on more and more people.
Blue light, or more correctly, blue spectrum light, is light given off by computers, smart phones, HD televisions, even domestic lights. As we are increasingly exposed to blue light, from morning to night, our natural sleep / wake cycles can be affected.This is due to blue light being in the same spectrum of light as sunlight. Our primal brain is deeply programmed to respond to blue light (sunlight) as the time to be active, awake, alert and ready for action. This makes sense, daylight was a time to hunt and avoid being hunted.
With our bright house lights and our reliance upon our phones and computers for watching movies, TV shows, for reading books and keeping up with social media, we are losing the natural cycle of light and dark that dictates high cortisol levels first thing, to wake us up and allow us to leap out of bed feeling perky and vibrant, and low cortisol at night to allow us to feel sleepy. As cortisol levels decrease throughout the evening, so our sleep hormone melatonin rises, to put us to sleep. However, as long as blue light is reaching the brain, cortisol levels are maintained and melatonin levels are suppressed.
Some people are far more sensitive to this than others. If you are finding you can’t switch off at night; if your brain is ruminating away, stopping you falling asleep; or if you wake in the wee hours with thoughts racing through your mind, then it could be you have lost your natural regulation of your sleep / wake cycle.
To help get your circadium rhythm working well again, there are some easy things that can really help.
– Get exposure to bright, natural daylight as much as possible during the morning and early afternoon.
– Use blue-blocking apps for your devices, which filter out the blue light, putting an orange hue over the screen instead.
– Put orange or red bulbs in your bedside lights.
– Dim your household lights throughout the evening.
– Wherever possible, avoid TV for a good hour before bed unless using blue-blockers (see below).
– Don’t put on the really bright bathroom light just before bed. Dim the light if you can, or get your ablutions done early.
– Buy some blue-blocker specs. They are cheap and easy to find and allow you to watch TV, use a screen without exposing your brain to blue light. Blue blocker glasses will have orange or yellow lenses.
Why all the yellow, orange, red? Because we are PRIMAL. Yellow, orange and red light is akin to firelight. Firelight to our primal brain denotes darkness, hence night time. our brain understands it’s time to switch off and trigger sleep around firelight. This will allow your sleep hormones to rise facilitating a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Don’t underestimate the power of getting this right. With SLEEP, in my opinion, being THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of longevity and health, even above quality of nutrition, blocking out the blue might be a health game-changer for you.