How digital devices disrupt our sleep

written by Meena Azzollini

woman watching tablet with glasses on at night

Credit:123RF

We all love our digital devices and its becoming more and more the norm to use it for almost everything from the time we wake up till we get into bed.

Unfortunately, this is not doing any good to our sleep. Not because digital devices keep us wired and awake with all the entertainment it presents but rather from the blue light which is emitted from these devices.

The levels of melatonin found in the study participants were even higher than the increases derived from over-the-counter melatonin supplements.

Researchers from the University Of Houston College Of Optometry had 21 study subjects; aged 17 to 42 years wear short wavelength-blocking glasses before bedtime for 2 weeks, while they continued using their digital devices as normal.

The participants wore activity and sleep monitors 24 hours a day to track their daytime activity and night time sleep levels.

Results showed that there was about 59 per cent increase in night time melatonin levels. Melatonin is the chemical responsible for sending signals to our body which tells us that it’s time to sleep.

The levels of melatonin found in the study participants were even higher than the increases derived from over-the-counter melatonin supplements.
The study participants also reported sleeping better, falling asleep faster and slept longer every night by 24 minutes.

The short wavelength blocking glasses worn by the participants, blocked blue light-the largest source of it is the sun. But it is also found in LED – based devices. Blue light will alert the body and regulates our internal clock or circadian rhythm which tells our body when to wake and when to sleep.

The artificial light activates photoreceptors called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which suppresses melatonin, keeping us awake at night.

By wearing blue light blocking glasses, we can reduce the impact on photoreceptors, while we get a good night’s sleep and can still continue to use our digital devices at night.

Source: Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics,


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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!