Can’t sleep? This may be why.

we spend14-15.5 hours staring at a screen that puts off blue light - PER DAY.

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Some of us work 8 to 10 hours a day which involves staring at a screen only to come home and sit on the couch and watch our favorite TV show before we go to bed. The average office worker will spend almost 1,700 hours a year in front of the computer screen. This adds up to about 6.5 hours a day! An average person also spends over 4 hours a day on their mobile devices and don’t forget an average of about 3-5 hours of watching TV a night. To put all this in perspective, that equals 14-15.5 hours staring at a screen that puts off blue light – PER DAY.  

Laboratory Studies have shown that too much blue light exposure can damage light-sensitive cells in your eye. Blue light has been shown to penetrate all the way to the retina. The retina is important because this is the inner lining of the back of the eye and  too much exposure increases the risk of macular degeneration. Which is a leading cause of blindness. Studies also revealed when they exposed the retina to Blue Light it triggering a reaction in which the retina releases a reactive oxygen species. These are poisonous chemical molecules that kill photoreceptor cells. 

The Sun is also a source of Blue Light. Sunlight boosts our attention, memory, energy levels, reaction time and overall mood. Blue light either from the Sun or from your computer screen suppresses the release of melatonin in our brains which is why we have a hard time going to sleep after a full day of screen time. Low levels of melatonin lowers the quality of sleep which can contribute to a number of negative health effects. Blue Light waves come from everywhere; the Sun, digital screens, TV, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, electronic devices, Fluorescent and LED lighting just to name a few! It’s no wonder it’s hard to ‘turn down’ at night.

So, how can we lower our exposure to Blue Light if we’re always in it? If you have a job that requires you to spending at least 6 to 7 hours a day in front of a screen blue light blocking glasses may be a solution If you cannot limit your screen time because of work. There are also blue light filter apps that you can download to your laptop devices computers and even cell phones to limit the amount of blue light exposure. One of the things I found that works very well is when I come home at night is limiting the amount of artificial light by substituting it with candlelight and also turning off the TV  one to two hours before bedtime. This sends a message to help your brain and body relax by releasing natural melatonin, making sleep easier to come by. 

I don’t recommend taking artificial melatonin because it will lower your body’s ability to make melatonin if you over use it; it’s simply best to enable your own body to ‘read’ the instructions you’re sending – just make sure you send the right ones! Meditate or sipping on Chamomile tea can help with an overactive brain or imagination. Just try a few diferent techniques and get into a routine. Whatever helps you go to sleep faster even if that’s a glass of warm milk just add some coco it has lots of magnesium.  There is no evidence that milk makes you sleepy but the ‘milk myth’ may have persisted because milk has small amounts of tryptophan, the raw material the brain uses to build both serotonin and melatonin. Other sources of tryptophan include Turkey – so maybe a small bedtime snack is just what the sleep doctor ordered. 

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