In the last article we explored what different types of light are doing to your sleep.
The key thing to understand is that exposure to blue and green light frequencies at night-time is destroying your body’s ability to produce melatonin and get good sleep.
The most important step that you can take for your health is to fix your night-time light exposure so that your brain can naturally produce high amounts of melatonin that boosts every area of your health.
In order to do this, you need to consider all of the sources of light that you are exposed to at night and how you can reduce and remove the harmful blue and green light that is ruining your sleep.
There are four practical ways that you can focus on doing this. I’ll touch on each method in this email and provide more detailed instructions with extra resources in the links that you can follow up on.
1. Wear blue light blocking glasses after sunset.
Not surprisingly, these glasses are designed to block the harmful light that damages your sleep. It’s really important that you wear amber or red blue light blocking glasses at night-time. Clear lens blue light blocking glasses do not remove all of the harmful light frequencies, although they can be useful during the day-time to help reduce migraines and eye strain for those individuals working in front of computers.
Several peer-reviewed research studies have now shown that wearing blue light blockers results in increased melatonin levels, improved mood, shorter time taken to get to sleep, increased sleep quality and less waking up throughout the night.
90% of people admit to using technology during the hours before bed, and we don’t expect that this habit is going to change overnight. Wearing blue light blocking glasses at night is the first step that you should take to protect your sleep and overall health.
2. The next step that you should take is to ensure that you use of light-filtering technology to reduce the amount of blue and green light coming from all of your mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers after sunset.
When unfiltered, the light given off by ALL of our favourite forms of technology is destroying our sleep. Thankfully, with some smart changes we can filter the amount of blue and green light, so these devices are not as harmful toward our sleep.
All Apple devices have a featured called ‘night shift mode’ through which you can set a schedule to reduce the amount of blue and green light given off by the screen at certain times of the day. There is also another way that you can manually adjust the settings on Apple technology to remove ALL blue and green light, as opposed to just reducing it.
Don’t worry, there is also a similar application for Android devices called Iris Mini.
Lastly with regards to technology, if you are using a laptop or computer in the evening you need to install Iris Technology. Iris and similar programmes remove the blue and green light from your screen after sunset, although Iris is the only software that also reduces the background flicker of your screen. Whilst we aren’t able to detect this constant pulsating flicker with our eyes, it keeps our brain over-stimulated and impacts our sleep.
Without Iris installed, staring at laptops and computer screens after sunset is damaging your sleep.
3. The next step is to replace harmful home LED lights with sleep friendly lighting
Phones, laptops and tablets aside – most modern homes and public places are flooded with blue and green wavelengths of light that come from regular LED light bulbs.
To sleep well, you need to avoid these types of light after sunlight at all costs.
Thankfully, exposure to ‘warmer’ red, orange and yellow wave lengths of light at night does not cause the same disruption to melatonin, and it’s possible to replace regular harmful LED lighting with cheap, circadian friendly red lights in your home.
Here are your options:
- You can purchase red bulbs to replace the regular LED bulbs in the areas of your house where you spent your time at night.
- You can also install a few small red LED plug socket lights to provide ambient light in the evening.
- You can purchase night-time specific lamps and amber clip-on book lights that I like to use in the bedroom.
- OR, you can get really old school and use natural, chemical-free candles.
However you do this is up to you, but I need you to remember that removing blue and green light exposure after sunset is the most important step you can take to sleep better and improve how your circadian rhythm functions.
4. The last thing that you need to consider is blocking out all forms of light whilst you are sleeping
It’s absolutely vital that you make your sleep-sanctuary a light-free zone at night.
This is because it’s not only your eyes, but also your skin that are light sensitive, so exposing your body to any form of harmful light before or during sleep will reduce your melatonin production and destroy your sleep quality.
Your room should be dark enough so that you cannot see your hand in front of your eyes.
This means that you need to block all sources of light that come through your windows from the outside, as well as all forms of light from technology and even smaller lights from sources such as fire alarms, air conditioning consoles and power outlets.
This might mean that you need to fit blackout blinds to your windows, as well as removing mobile phones, laptops and other types of technology from your room before bed. You can place black tape or stickers over smaller lights.
When your room is pitch black at night your body is receiving the perfect signal needed for sleep – DARKNESS!
In the scenario that you cannot fully black out your sleeping area, you should wear something such as a Manta Sleep Mask to ensure that 100% of light is blocked from your and eyelids (which are also light sensitive).
The best way to improve the quality of your sleep is through paying close attention to your night-time light exposure.
You should aim to block out artificial light at all costs by wearing blue light blocking glasses, using light-filtering technology, installing sleep-friendly circadian lighting and ensuring you have a pitch-black bedroom at night when you are sleeping.
Here’s to some better Zzzzs!