Turn off mobile devices with blue light before crawling in bed - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Those blue lights are keeping you up at night

  • Inside KAIT8.comMore>>

  • Bedtime routines for a good night's sleep

    Bedtime routines for a good night's sleep

    Sleep: It's something many of us long for, but don't seem to get enough of. Why is it so hard for so many to get enough shuteye?
    Sleep: It's something many of us long for, but don't seem to get enough of. Why is it so hard for so many to get enough shuteye?
  • Cell phones and sleep deprivation

    Mobile phones creating sleep deprived teens

    Texting has changed the way we communicate, and for kids growing up today, it's changed the way they're developing. We explored just how much being too "plugged in" can affect your teen's health!
    Texting has changed the way we communicate, and for kids growing up today, it's changed the way they're developing. We explored just how much being too "plugged in" can affect your teen's health!
  • What's keeping you up at night?

    What's keeping you up at night?

    You might have insomnia and not even know it. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly half of us have some problem getting to sleep or staying asleep at night. There are two things that
    Sleep experts say a rough economy and too much technology are interrupting our sleep. There are, however, ways to take control and get a good night's rest.

What you're bringing to bed with you could be the reason you can't go to sleep.

The screen on laptops, tablets and cell phones can fool your body into feeling wide awake.

Regardless of whether you're texting or typing, that burst of bright light on the screen is sending your body all the wrong messages.

"The light is accepted as sunlight, so the brain is not ready for melatonin; it's not ready to go to sleep," says Dr. Kenneth Weeks, who is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and sleep medicine.

Both sunlight and the screens on many mobile devices stream wavelengths of blue light.

That's good during the daytime, but blue light at night keeps us alert by suppressing melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.

"That helps you fall asleep very quickly and sleep more deeply," says Dr. Ed Carome, a retired professor of physics at John Carroll University.

At night, the blue light blasting through the screens on smart phones and computers, which are typically within close proximity to a person's face, is sending the same signal of sunlight so your entire sleep cycle gets delayed into the next morning.

Doctors worry most about teenagers who typically text late at night and are barely awake while driving to school the next morning.

"Not only do they not learn as much and fall asleep in class, but they are putting themselves in danger," Weeks points out.

So, what should a sleep-deprived smart phone user do?

For starters, stay away from these screens at least two to three hours before going to bed.

You can try wearing blue-blocking glasses or filters if you work the night shift or, on some devices, try adjusting the brightness by switching to a white-on-black mode after sunset.

If you are wondering why you should worry about the affect of these blue lights, poor sleep has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

So, it's best to just turn off that technology well before tucking in.

Another source of blue light might be your light bulb. Those curly-cue florescent bulbs or LED lights may be energy-efficient, but they can also produce more blue light.

Try using dim red lights for night lights or relax by candlelight.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:

The following information is from the Chicago Tribune in an article entitled, "Light from electronic screens at night linked to sleep loss" (Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-08/news/ct-met-night-light-sleep-20120708_1_blue-light-bright-light-steven-lockley).

  • The American Medical Association says "that exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents."
  • Any light can cause disruptions, but "blue light" is particularly problematic, emitted abundantly from the energy-efficient screens of smart phones and computer.
  • Blue lights is prominent in day light so our body "registers" it as daytime, making us alert and responsive.
  • Blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, which is not made during the day.
  • Swiss researchers at the University of Basel reported that subjects who spent time at night in front of an LED computer screen, as opposed to a screen emitting a variety of colors but little blue light, experienced "a significant suppression of the evening rise in endogenous melatonin and … sleepiness."
  • Unlike watching TV, newer electronic screens are very close to our face, increasing the intensity and effect of blue light in the brain.
  • When used during the day, these screens can help stabilize circadian rhythms and increase alertness and reaction time.
  • A recent poll by Rosetta marketing consultants indicated that today almost 1 in 3 Americans who use the Internet own a tablet and that 68 percent of them report taking the device to bed.
  • The iPad can have its brightness adjusted by switching to white on black mode at night through the "settings" feature.
  • Companies have been developing orange-tinted glasses, screen filters and blue-light-free bulbs to address the problem.
  • A free computer program called f.lux - downloadable at stereopsis.com/flux -reduces the levels of blue light coming from a computer screen later in the day.
  • Sleep problems are also caused by stress, anxiety and restless leg syndrome.

The following information is from Harvard Health Publications in an article entitled, "Blue light has a dark side" (Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2012/May/blue-light-has-a-dark-side/).

  • At night, light throws the body's biological clock-the circadian rhythm-out of whack.
  • Poor sleep may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  • Blue light is beneficial during the day: boost attention, reaction times, and mood, but most disruptive at night.
  • It's not exactly clear why nighttime light exposure seems to be so bad for us
  • Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms.
  • Light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully.
  • Harvard researchers conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much.
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs but they also tend to produce more blue light.
  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
  • If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses.
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.


Powered by WorldNow

472 Craighead Co. 766
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-8888

FCC Public File
(870) 336-1816
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KAIT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.