Artificial Light – Health Hazard & How to Hack your home for better sleep

Artificial light specifically in the blue light spectrum is said to be the “New Smoking” – blue light suppresses melatonin production and alters the circadian rhythm – keeps you awake. Exposure to blue light at night stops melatonin production from the pineal gland that normally occurs during night.

Exposure to light resets the circadian rhythm of melatonin and actively inhibits melatonin synthesis. Room light and light exposure have profound suppressive effects on melatonin levels and in effect shorten the bodies internal representation of night duration – we see night as shorter than it should be and wake earlier, get less restful deeper sleep and disrupt the rhythm (Gooley et al, 2011). The reduction in melatonin production was 50-85% less than normal from light exposure before bedtime.

Reduction in proper melatonin production has been associated with sleep disturbances, insulin resistance, increased cancer risk, circadian rhythm disruption, insomnia,  disruption in blood glucose and insulin levels along with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (Gooley et al, 2011).

How to Hack your Home:

  1. Stop using electronic devices 1 hour before bedtime (phones, tablets, ipads, tv and dim the lights in your rooms).
  2. Use apps on phones, tablets and computers that filter out blue light like night shift or flux.
  3. Wear blue blocker glasses – the ones I use are the fantastic TrueDark Glasses that may make you look like a rock star but are fabulous for blocking that light out.
  4. Install orange lights in your room, bathroom or areas that you are last exposed to light to stop that quick exposure that can occur before bed or during the night.
  5. Use a light simulator – Lumie that simulates the normal decline in blue light like at sunset and uses more orange to slowly wind down and to slowly increase light in the morning.
  6. Use blackout blinds – in your room if there is any light source coming in you need to block this even if your eyes are closed the cells of your skin send the blue light spectrum coming in and it wakes you up slowly and progressively.
  7. Create a Sleep Cave – make sure your room is absolutely pitch black at night no light coming in, coming off of devices, clocks etc so you sleep without any light noise.
  8. Expose yourself to bright orange light in the morning – sunlight between 6-8:30am in the morning to stimulate the normal circadian rhythm. Time shifts depending on time of year where you live and the normal sunrise.
  9. Try blue light filters during the day at work or on planes – TrueDark also has day wear glasses that filter out some of that junk light we are all exposed to on our devices throughout the day.
  10. Go to bed when the sun sets – this is a tough one but optimal would be going to bed at sunset and waking at sunrise – if you cannot do this do the avove measures

References: 

Gooley, J., Chamberlain, K., Smith, K., Khalsa, S., Rajaratnam, S., Van Reen, E., Zeitzer, J., Czeisler, C. and Lockley, S. (2011). Exposure to Room Light before bedtime suppresses melatonin onset and shortens melatonin duration in humans. The journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 96(3), 463-472.

Czeisler, C., Shanahan, T., Klerman, E., Martens, H., Brotman, D., Emens, J., Klein, T. and Rizzo, J. (1995). Suppression of melatonin secretion in some blind patients by exposure to brigh light. The new England journal of medicine, 332 (1), 6-11.

Comments 1

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