I first learned how important it is to reduce blue light at night for better sleep from Marks Daily Apple. Mark Sisson is the author of several of favorite books on Primal lifestyle and Paleo recipes, like the classic The Primal Blueprint.
His post talked about the effect on melatonin (our sleep hormone) from blue light emanating from computers and TV’s, as well as digital clocks with blue numbers. If you are working on the computer or watching TV at night, this may be one big reason why you want to stay up late and work, or have trouble falling asleep once you get to bed.
Humans are stimulated by blue light – the sky and natural daylight have blue light, and fluorescent lights are deliberately offered with a “cool blue” color as we prefer that hue when active. Blue light means DAYTIME to us, so it keeps us awake and ready to work.
I’ve always advocated sharply reducing ALL the lights in the house in the evening, as well as sleeping in a pitch black bedroom. Now I have some additional info, thanks to Mark’s blog.
Tips for reducing blue light exposure:
- Download the free F’lux program. This will dim the blue screen on your computer to a deep yellow as night falls. This actually works, and my eyes are much happier working on the laptop after dark. I seldom use the computer after dinner, but even then, it always seems just too bright. Now I know why!
- Dim the house lights after dark as much as possible. Candles are a good choice if you find unscented, non-petroleum wax. (Normal candles are toxic as they burn petrochemicals, and release synthetic fragrance into the air). Try these beeswax candles or these made from soy wax. Install lower wattage yellow light bulbs in 1 or 2 lamps for night use, as neither red nor yellow wake us up.
- Get some outside daylight every day, especially in the morning. This can lift your fatigue and depression quickly.
- Wear orange or yellow blue-blocker safety glasses at night, and the lights won’t affect your hormones as much.
- Try one of the new screen shields for phones and tablets that reduces the amount of blue light emitted from the screen (like this one).
Enjoy, and get some rest!