Blue Light

I · December 16, 2020

These days, many electronic devices come with the ability to turn the screens more orange during the evenings to help improve sleep.

This is because our brains have evolved to use blue light (and white light, which contains blue light) as a signal that it’s daytime. Thus, seeing blue or white light close to bedtime can mess with our circadian rhythms (our natural body clock that makes us start to feel tired when it’s time to go to sleep) and cause us to have a harder time getting to sleep.

This feature of our phones and computers is great, but I’m pretty sure the benefits are lost for most people since the lights in people’s homes tend to be white. I imagine the effects of having Night Shift on your phone get more than negated when you brush your teeth before bed in a bright, white bathroom.

How to Address this Problem

Red light doesn’t have the same wakefulness-provoking effect, and orange and yellow light have the effect but to a lesser degree. An ideal technological solution would be to have all of the lights in one’s house get redder at the same time one’s cell phone does.

Some alternatives include getting ready for bed as soon as you can and trying to use only a red lamp afterwards (which I’ve recently started trying) or giving up artificial light entirely (which has worked pretty well for me in the past during canoe trips, but I also might just have been exhausted from canoeing all day).

Source for the facts in this article.

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