Trouble Sleeping? Blame Your Devices

by | July 11, 2017 | Empathy | 0 comments

If you’re having a difficult time getting enough sleep, this thread is for you.  Hopefully, we’ll solve this problem so you can rest.

While there are many causes for sleeplessness, one of the most common is the result of our modern lifestyles and it’s very easily fixed.  It’s caused by our devices: cellphones, tablets, computer monitors.  All of these devices emit blue wavelength light.  That’s key.

There’s nothing harmful about this.  It’s actually helpful to us, because a wide range of wavelengths stimulate our circadian systems.  Without getting too technical, our eyes can interpret the frequency of the light we’re seeing.  In turn, our brain receives instructions.

It just so happens blue light tells our brains that it’s daytime and thus produce the things that promote a wakeful state in us.  As the sun sets, we receive less and less blue light.  This tells the brain to switch gears and produce other chemicals instead.

In particular, it will begin production of melatonin, which is essential for sleep.  If we’re exposed to blue light, production stops.  When we look at our devices in the evening hours, we’re essentially telling our brains that it’s still daylight and we need to be alert.

This is obviously very bad for us: if the main symptom you experience is difficulty falling asleep, this is very likely the culprit.  If you’re thinking there’s no way in hell you’re giving up your devices in the evening hours, you don’t need to.  Science has answers.

All we need to do is filter out the blue light from our devices as the sun sets, and most all devices are capable of doing just that.  This was a long-winded way of getting to the point, but in my experience, people ignore this advice if they don’t understand the why.

There’s software and apps available that help with this problem.  For desktop computers, I strongly recommend justgetflux.com.  It works on PC, Mac, and Linux.  When it comes to our handheld devices, you can search the app stores for “blue light filter.”

Some newer devices now have a feature for this built-in.  Android has “reader mode” and iOS has something called “night shift.”  In my personal experience, these really aren’t adequate.  On Android devices, I use an app called Twilight.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if any good apps are available on iOS.  There’s one called “Unblue” that you may want to give a try.

That’s it.  That’s all you need to do.  Using your location, these apps can control the amount of blue light based on your time of day.  I also find taking a melatonin supplement to be helpful. It’s perfectly safe and readily available.  I use GNC.

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