Ever wondered why you can’t stop endlessly scrolling through certain social media apps instead of going to bed? Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Messenger. Why do we always find ourselves aimlessly switching between the same six apps even though we should be getting some shut-eye? Also, why are they all blue? The colour blue is in the particular spectrum of light -460nm range to be precise. The cells in our eyes react to blue light by sending signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus of our brain to turn off melatonin production – in short – less melatonin, less sleep.
There’s nothing sinister about the fact that all these apps are blue, it’s just a marketing ploy to extend usage-time. But this combined with the blue light emitting from our screens is a recipe for disaster. And by disaster, we mean a bad night of rest.
Staring into our phones, laptops, and screens at night time throw off our bodies natural circadian rhythm. Our sleep suffers. And we all know that crankiness is probably the least problematic side-effect of an unregulated sleep cycle.
Not all blue light is bad. Blue wavelengths help us during the day – improves mood, alertness, and even boosts attention. The sun is our main supply of it. That’s why blue light is utilised in light therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more commonly known as seasonal depression. It lasts through the winter months in regions that don’t see the sun for weeks on end.
Now before you panic, no one’s asking you to get rid of your phones. We would be out of business! Here at Fixerman, the well-being of our customers is just as important as the well-being of their phones.
Since prevention is better than cure, below are a few precautions we can all take to better our sleep and further, better our life.
- The night-shift in smart phones switches the phone screen to a warm yellow light which is slighter tougher on your phone’s battery, but much easier on the eyes.
- Blue light filters for phones, tablets, screens, which come in the form of a protective screen. They filter out the blue light before it can reach your eyes without affecting screen visibility. (Examples: Eyesafe (Health-E), iLLumiShield, RetinaShield (Tech Armor), Retina Armor (Tektide), Frabicon and Cyxus)
- Did you know computer glasses are a thing? Now you do! Prescription or no prescription, invest in a pair of these if your lifestyle/work-life demands heavy screen time.
If none of the above interest you, maybe you should just go old-school and discipline your screen-time. An hour or two before bed, just put your phone on night-mode, tuck it on your nightstand, and kiss it goodnight. You will thank yourself in the morning.