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Blue light’s bright and dark sides

published: 11-16-2015
Filed under: Rest, Sleep, Technology
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Blue light is a type of light emitted from all electronic devices and energy-efficient light bulbs. It can give you an energy boost equal to or better than 2 cups of coffee. Blue light may even enhance athletic performance. Sounds great, right? But what if the missing piece of your performance puzzle is sleep? An energy boost during the day may be welcome, but using electronic gadgets at night can be detrimental to your sleep health. The blue light they emit can suppress the secretion of melatonin, a powerful sleep hormone, and disrupt your natural circadian rhythm. Try to manage your exposure to blue light with these tips:

  • During the day, take advantage of the bonus your electronic devices give you to boost your attention, reaction times, and mood.
  • Shut off all electronic devices at least 2 hours before you need to go to sleep.
  • Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses when you need to sleep but can’t avoid blue light.
  • If you like having a nightlight, use dim, red bulbs. Red light has less impact on your melatonin levels. (Parents take note for the nightlight in your child’s bedroom.)

One last tip: During the day, get plenty of bright daylight. It makes you feel better during the day, and it will help you sleep better at night.

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