TV causes insomnia, blue lights disrupt sleep herbal remedies for sleep

Your LED Lights Could be Disrupting your Sleep

Do you have trouble getting to sleep at a decent hour?

You may benefit from unplugging earlier. When we are exposed to bright light after dusk, like computer screens, iPads, iPhones, and TVs our brains get the signal that it’s not time to produce the melatonin – the hormone we need to feel sleepy.

Insomnia is an epidemic in this country, affecting 1 out of every 3 Americans. Although prescription sleep medications are common, they also come with troubling side effects and a four times higher risk of death.

Melatonin

Your body produces the hormone melatonin in a little gland in your brain. A form of it is also marketed as a natural sleep aid.

However, taking an external source of melatonin can disrupt your body’s delicate balance of hormones. Becoming dependent on a melatonin supplement is a particular problem since it does not promote the deep sleep that your body need s to do its major repair work.

The safest, simplest way to improve sleep may be to change your lighting after dusk. No need to pull out the candles, you can boost melatonin production by reconfiguring the kind of light you use.

LED Lights Suppress Melatonin

Although any kind of light can suppress melatonin, research shows that light with blue wavelengths is the worst. LED bulbs are great for reducing your electric bill. Unfortunately, they are dominant in blue light and suppress melatonin five times more than orange-yellow light bulbs.

One study showed that exposure to ordinary room light (compared to dim light) before bedtime decreased melatonin duration by about 90 minutes. Exposure to light during usual sleeping hours suppressed melatonin more than 50 percent.

Examples of blue light sources that will interfere with sleep include:

  • LED light bulbs
  • Computer screens
  • Laptops
  • iPads, iPhones and tablets
  • Hand-held video games
  • LED TV
  • LED digital clocks

Don’t Want to Read by Candlelight? Try these…

Devices that won’t interfere with melatonin? Kindle readers that aren’t backlit, screens that allow you to change the light spectrum (check out this free app that I use on my laptop) and good old-fashioned books 🙂

You may also want to avoid “bright white” bulbs and opt for the warm light spectrum instead. When shopping look for lights in the tungsten or incandescent spectrum range.

LED’s are now available in dimmable versions, which is somewhat helpful but the most important option is the actual light spectrum. This light has different modes including a “warm” spectrum.

Have you tried reducing your exposure to blue light before bed? Share your experience below.

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