In the previous lesson, we talked about sunlight and darkness. In this one, we're covering another type of light: LED light, sometimes called Blue Light.
While exposure to sunlight is good for our sleep, LED is not. Light exposure from our TV screens, phones, computers, tablets, etc., trick our brain into thinking it is sunlight. This messes with the circadian rhythms and makes it difficult to sleep, because your brain, in a way, thinks that it's time to stay awake. It thinks the light coming from your screen is the sun.
Have you ever just kept watching movies or binge-watching shows all hours of the night, even when you are tired? Or stayed up playing computer, phone, or video games, despite feeling exhausted? Certainly, some of this is the entertainment value, but also, it's the light exposure. It lets you justify that one-more-episode or just-to-the-next-checkpoint.
I'm all for screened entertainment in the evening to relax, but if you want to sleep better, turn the devices off at least 1 hour before bed. If you have to have some sort of electronic stimulation right before bed, watch TV. Not TV on the computer, but the actual television set, with the incandescent lights on. Don't sit in a dark but glowing room.
Better yet, turn it all off and read a book, but not in bed. If you absolutely have to use screens, download a blue light filter app. There's a whole mess of them out there for almost all devices. You can either get free or paid versions. The one I like for my Android, in the rare times that I actually use my phone in the dark, is s filter. I'm not an affiliate. I just like the app. It has the option of a little hovering Sun widget that I just tap to turn off the blue light.
But if you can just avoid screens before bed, to begin with, you'll be farther ahead.
It is unanimously accepted by sleep professionals that LED light is bad for your sleep. However, a 2019 French study goes a bit further to suggest chronic LED-exposure can actually damage your eyes. And children and teenagers, whose eyes filter blue-light the least, are more at risk than adults. And while not all experts agree with this French study, it is still worth noting.
Either way, my advice remains the same, avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime, as the LED light is bad for your sleep.
The next lesson is entitled, “The Grinch hates it too... and I don't mean Christmas.” In it, we will look at an irritant of the Grinch’s, and see how we can resolve it to improve sleep. Until then, happy Zzz’s.