The light of your phones and gadgets impacts your brain and body. Gadgets like smartphones and tablets have screens that are designed to make them easy to use in very bright and dark environments. The screens emit a bright blue light in order for it to be seen in any light setting.
During the night, as your gadget screens mimics the brightness of daylight, your brain gets confused by the bright light. Exposure to blue light causes the brain’s pineal gland to stop making Melatonin, a hormone that give your body sleep cues, otherwise known as the sleep hormone.
Normally stimulated by darkness, the pineal gland sends signals from a photoreceptor known as Melanopsin which is located in the retina ganglion cells. When your eyes are exposed on the bright blue light of your cellphone during the night, Melanopsin sends mixed signals.
For this reason, smartphone light has a negative impact on your sleep cycle. It can disrupt a person’s sleep cycle and make it harder to fall as well as stay asleep. As a result, you are less likely to get all the good REM sleep that you need. Because REM sleep is vital in repairing and restoring your cells during sleep, the result is increased fatigue. There is a great potential for serious health problems and diseases with lacking sleep over long periods of time.
The effect of blue light can be observed more for teenagers. Teens and adolescents are more vulnerable to the effects of light than adults. This is because circadian rhythm naturally shifts during adolescence. This causes teenagers to feel more awake late into the night. Watching television or playing a video game just before bedtime could be enough to push sleepiness away. As a result, you take away time for sleep and make early mornings particularly difficult.
How exposure to blue light affects you:
- Impaired Memory
The disruption of your normal sleep schedule might leave you distracted and compromise your memory the next day.
- Reduced Learning Capacity
A poor night’s sleep caused by your smartphone light can make it harder to learn.
- Toxin Buildup
Over the long term, not getting enough sleep can lead to neurotoxin buildup that makes it even harder for you to get good sleep, and may lead to insomnia.
People with suppressed melatonin levels and whose body clocks are affected by exposure to blue light are more prone to depression.
- Risk of Obesity
When your melatonin production and sleep are disrupted, your hormones that control hunger are also imbalanced, which can potentially increase your risk to obesity.
- Loss of Vision
Although more research is needed, there’s some evidence that blue light could damage your vision by harming the retina over time.
Researchers are investigating whether or not blue light could lead to cataracts.
- Increased Risk of Cancer
It was found out that there is a connection between light exposure at night and the disturbed sleep that come with it and an increased risk of certain cancers like breast and prostate.
The overall effect of exposure to smartphone light during the day comes down to the disruption of our body’s hormones and biological clock. Due to the bright blue light, our body is tricked into thinking that it is still daytime. This results in unnatural sleep cycles as well as difficulty sleeping (insomnia) and could very possibly lead to more serious health risks in the long run.
ANF Therapy® Helps You Get Better Sleep
“I wasn’t sleeping hardly at all. I was waking up a lot. I was really tired during the day… They gave the discs for sleeping. I felt so much better. I went into a deeper sleep and I was more rested the following day.”
— Gina Wong, ANF Patient
ANF Therapy® patient Gina Wong with sleep issues.
What You Can Do
In order for you to limit your exposure to blue light, the first thing you should do is turn off all your devices at least two hours before bedtime. These devices are not limited to smartphones, but also includes computers, television or tablets. While our cellphone use is inevitable in today’s modern society, we can take measures in order to lessen the effect of its extended use. Regardless of whether you are worried about your sleep, we can all benefit from a daily break from our smartphones and other sleep-disrupting screens.
Contact our ANF Therapists to ask how you can get better sleep.