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The bright and dark sides of blue light

published: 05-11-2014
Filed under: Rest, Sleep, Technology
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If you’ve ever thought you noticed a boost in energy while using your electronic gadgets, it may not just be in your head. A recent study suggests that blue light—the type that’s emitted from all electronic devices and energy-efficient light bulbs—can give you an energy boost equal to or better than two cups of coffee. The same study makes a connection between blue light and enhanced sports performance. Sounds great, right? But what if sleep is the missing piece of your performance puzzle?

While you might welcome an energy boost during the day, using electronic gadgets at night can be detrimental to your sleep health, disrupting your natural circadian rhythm by suppressing the secretion of melatonin, a powerful sleep hormone. Follow these tips to manage your exposure to blue light:

  • Take advantage of electronic devices during the day to boost your attention, reaction times, and mood.
  • Shut off all electronic devices at night at least two hours before you go to bed.
  • Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses on those nights when you can’t avoid blue light.
  • Use dim, red lights if you like having a nightlight. Red light has less impact on your melatonin levels. (Parents also take note for the nightlight in your child’s bedroom.)

One more tip about light: During the day, get plenty of bright daylight. Not only will it make you feel better during the day, it will also help you sleep at night.


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