What Is Blue Light?
Blue light is a wavelength of light that is emitted from most modern screens. Its wavelength is similar to that of natural daylight, so when our iris’ perceive this light, our brains interpret it in a very specific way – which can have drastic effects on our everyday sleeping pattern.
Before artificial light (and commonplace lighting), our bodies would rely on the sun’s light to regulate our circadian rhythms (sleep & wake cycle). Simply put, when the sun rose, and our eyeballs perceived its light, our bodies would wake. When the light would fade, and the blue light wavelength ceased to be interpreted by our iris’, our bodies would start to grow weary.
This is because blue light decreases the production of melatonin within our bodies – the chemical that makes us tired. That means when we perceive blue light, in whatever form, our body’s natural response is to become more alert.
So when we look at screens, like our phones or a laptop, our bodies are programmed to wake up.
Why Is This A Problem?
It should be pretty apparent that if a particular wavelength of light triggers a natural response of becoming more alert, then our sleeping patterns could be easily affected.
Think of it in real terms. How many times have you lay down to sleep, but before your head hits the pillow, you spend five minutes browsing through your phone, looking up emails, scrolling through social media, or whatever – only to find that now, you can’t go to sleep.
Even five minutes of exposure to blue light (especially when it’s concentrated and up close to our eyes, as our phones often are) can affect your ability to fall asleep for up to an hour.
Now consider all the different places that blue light can emit from. Televisions, laptops, tablets, games consoles – the list goes on.
So, how can someone make sure they are minimizing the risk posed to their circadian rhythms?
Can A Blue Light Filter Affect Your Sleeping Pattern?
It is perfectly reasonable to want to limit the amount of blue light being perceived by our bodies in the pursuit of a good night’s sleep. The question is; how?
One answer we can give revolves around the use of a blue light filter. A blue light filter is a software application becoming more commonplace in our technology that restricts the output of blue light on a screen.
What does this mean for you? In short, a blue light filter minimalizes the negative effect that blue light has on your sleep pattern. This isn’t a comprehensive solution, though.
As we said, a blue light filter minimalizes the effects of blue light on your eyes. Using one to browse your phone or watch television at night while relying on the prospect of falling to sleep swiftly is only going to yield disappointment. Blue wavelength light is still going to be emitted from your devices, just in smaller doses – and that’s not to even speak of the stimulating effects that these technologies are going to have on your brain after you finish with them.
So Is A Blue Light Filter Worth It?
In short: Yes. If you understand how to use it, a blue light filter can affect your sleeping pattern – and positively at that, but only if used in conjunction with some other basic guidelines.
Don’t rely upon your blue light filter to eliminate all blue light from your phone. You are still going to be gazing directly at a source of light, so it is to be expected some blue light will filter through.
Don’t expect that just because you have engaged a blue light filter that you are going to avoid all negative repercussions associated with using technology on your sleeping pattern.
Our best advice is to use a blue light filter far before you go to bed, limiting the amount of blue light that’s hitting your eyes long before you try to sleep. We would also recommend a healthy and consistent bedtime routine – and making sure that electronics and digital devices aren’t a part of that routine after about an hour before you plan to sleep.