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The Dangers of Blue Light at Night

06 March 2019

The addiction to smartphones is much prevalent in today’s time and everyone seems to be using their phone if doing nothing, just scrolling. We take it to the toilets and spend quality time with them before we doze off. We have become so habitual of the phone that it is somehow reflecting our relationships and our health too. Every now and then, we come across articles which highlight the dangers of blue light which emit from these smartphones. These blue wavelengths which are perceived as bright as white light are most disruptive during the night.

Science explains that the blue light from the sun during the day helps to keep alert and focused so that we perform our best and keep our spirits high. However, when our bodies receive this artificial blue light at night, it throws our body’s clock out of sync which results in several health issues.

Darkness is nature’s cue to our body that its time to sleep, informing the brain to start secreting the hormone melatonin. And the blue wavelengths of the light which are emitted from electronic devices at night time work opposite by suppressing the production of melatonin, thereby making it harder for us to fall asleep and achieve good quality snooze. Poor sleep and melatonin deficiency in the body have several repercussions of health issues like metabolic syndrome, depression, obesity, and even cancer. It also disrupts our body’s natural sleep cycle which can be extremely detrimental to the body as it not only controls our state of being awake but also various internal body clocks that dictate the function of our organs.

The Danger of Blue Light at Night

Blue wavelengths can completely jumble our natural body system. The biology explains it precisely that the blue wavelength light stimulates Ganglion cells in the retina which in turn tricks our bodies to think that its daytime by sending a nervous signal to the Hypothalamus in the brain.

Within the Hypothalamus the signal is picked up by the Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). The SCN produced signals that manage our daily sleep and wake cycles. These signals cause the Pineal gland to stop secreting the hormone Melatonin.

Melatonin is Our Natural Sleep Initiator

Good quality of sleep is highly important to run your normal bodily functions. Suppressing the production of melatonin makes it harder to fall asleep and one is not able to achieve a sound sleep which is essential to keep one going.

According to the research, blue light exposure after dark directly contributes to a host of mind and body health issues including but not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Libido

 

The harmful blue light at night is believed to contribute to:

  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Fertility
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity

 

Precisely, sleep deprivation caused due to poor quality sleep impacts the brain and body and can lead to many health complications which result in shortening our life expectancy over a broader scale.

Things You Can Do

  • Limit the use of phones, and other gadgets like tablets and laptops 2 hours before going to bed
  • Install and enable blue light control apps – iPhone: Enable Night Shift, Android: Install Twilight
  • Hold the device at least 12 inches from your eyes