using phones and tablets in bed suppresses melatonin production
Our eyes are being overstimulated by bright screens at night

Instead of reading a book, most people read on their tablets or phones. The problem with this is the blue light emitted by your phone or tablet”s screen.

The screens on modern devices are designed to mimic sunlight, which is great during the day, but not so great during the night. This blue light is quite stimulating to our visual cortex, and it makes it harder for our minds to settle and go to sleep.  This is because the stimulation suppresses our melatonin production, which controls our waking and sleep cycles.

A lot of research has been published showing that certain wavelengths of light can suppress melatonin production. This paper shows that the light emitted by electronic devices is very close to the wavelength needed to suppress melatonin.  This has been linked to the development of sleep disorders.

Ideally we should not be over stimulating our eyes or our minds for 2hrs before bed time, but this is rarely achievable, as TVs emit blue light also. There are some handy applications being made though to help combat this.

There is a free app available for windows/OSX/Linux called f.lux, which changes the hue of your screen as it becomes night to reduce the stimulation to your eyes. It is also available for iPhone/ipad if your phone is jailbroken.  For non jailbroken iPhones there doesn’t appear to be any alternatives unfortunately.  Though you can buy a physical shield for your iphone as described below.

For android there is an application called twilight which does the same thing.

You can also buy protective shields for your devices which physically block the blue light from phones, tablets and laptops.

In my Acupuncture clinic, I frequently see how people have trouble sleeping, or don’t wake up refreshed. The over use of electronic devices in our lives I believe is a contributing factor. We often think we care switching our minds off browsing the internet or playing sudoku on our phones before bed. The truth is we are doing quite the opposite. Blue light is the secret destroyer of our sleep, and children need to be extra careful too, as many play with ipads before bedtime.

If your sleep is poor you will suffer from fatigue, increased mood swings and poor concentration. This can all lead to developing more serious conditions such as hormonal imbalances, insomnia and even digestive problems. Sleep is when our Qi recharges itself, our body undergoes its routine maintenance to prepare for the next day.

Sleep is critical to everything from weight loss to having good reflexes whilst driving. So do your brain a big favour, install one of these apps on all your electronic devices and report back to me if you notice an improvement in your sleep in the coming weeks. I’m sure you all will.