Blue light-pro’s and con’s

What is blue light?

Blue light is highly beneficial for you….at the right time of day!  The best time to have blue light exposure is in the morning, up till noon.  Your body is more receptive to it and blue light sends messages to your brain inhibiting the production of melatonin, telling your brain its time to wake up.

Blue light in the evening tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, which inhibits the production of melatonin and reduces both the quality and quantity of sleep you have.  Melatonin production is vital to your health. Your brain secretes melatonin, which tells your body to slow down and it is time to sleep, with the amount of digital time people have nowadays, we are hours upon hours in front of a screen (blue light) tricking our brain into thinking that it is still daytime.

1 in 3 adults spend between 4 and 6 hours each day using digital devices, while 1 in 7 spend up to 12 hours per day.

Blue light blocking glasses can also benefit bipolar

At home, school and work, it’s possible to harness the power of light to promote healthy sleep, to boost productivity and to improve overall well-being. Both natural and artificial light can promote good sleep if they work with the natural patterns of the internal clock.

Not enough sunlight early in the day confuses your body’s internal clock—it’s like a mini form of jet lag. At the same time, reducing exposure to blue light in the evenings allows the internal clock to make us drowsy and sleep well.

Light & School-Aged Children

If students start school without sunlight exposure, it may hinder their ability to fall asleep at night because the internal clock is lacking its most vital signal.  Similar challenges may develop for students in classrooms

Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control.  Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.

A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake.

The SCN works like a clock that sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.

To reduce the effects of blue light, it is recommended to switch off all screens at least 1-1.30 hours before bedtime.  Other than switching off all electronics, the easiest and most effective way to avoid blue light, would be to wear anti blue light glasses.

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