Overhead lights, TVs, phones, tablets, and most other electronic screens emit blue light. Just like blue light from the sun, blue light in technology makes our bodies think that it is daytime, and therefore time to be awake. Exposure to blue light is a good thing in the morning and during the day when you want to be awake and alert. However, it is detrimental before bed when we want our bodies to start winding down.
This is because light suppresses melatonin. Melatonin plays a crucial role in making us feel sleepy, and in telling our bodies when it is time for bed. Naturally, melatonin levels rise throughout the day, making us feel more and more tired. Too much exposure to blue light before bed interferes with this process and makes it harder for our body to kick off a healthy night’s rest.
We’re going to limit your blue light exposure before bed. This means limiting TV watching and use of other technologies (phones, tablets, etc).
You can replace these previously blue-light filled evening activities with:
Starting tonight, make sure to stop watching TV or using technology for at least one hour before bed. Avoiding these blue light-emitting devices, along with keeping your room dark as we described in a previous lesson, will make your bedroom closer to the cave-like environment our ancestors would have slept in.
Specifically, you should avoid:
If you must use your smartphone, make sure to enable night shift, a feature that limits the amount of blue light your screen emits in the evening.
Tip: Avoid blasting yourself with blue light by turning off bathroom lights when you get up in the middle of the night. A red motion-activated night light, or just leaving the lights off (only if you can see well enough to move safely) is recommended.
If watching TV before bed is a habit that is just too hard to break, you can mitigate some of your blue light exposure by buying blue-light-blocking glasses and wearing them in the evening before bed.