Watching TV or YouTube or Social media on bed? It’s Ruining Your Sleep.
Many of us watch TV or play games on our mobile phones at night to unwind and switch into rest mode. But more and more research says watching TV in bed or falling asleep in from of TV is really bad for your health.
With all the streaming services releasing full seasons at once, it’s easy to get sucked in and say “just one more” until suddenly it’s 2 or 3am and you have spend half your sleep hours yelling at dustin and the demogorgon. Then, when you do finally crawl into bed, you probably toss and turn and can’t sleep. Because not only are you staying up and getting all riled up, but the light comming out of the TV itself is secretly messing with your body clock.
Hunans naturally have a roughly 24 hours circadian cycle – for night owls it’s a little longer and for early birds it’s a little shorter. For hunans, the cycle is highly influenced by light. Evolution tells us that when it’s light out we are awake and when it’s dark out we sleep, which makes light a driver of our internal body clock. So, why you can’t sleep after Lesile Knope’s recall, isn’t just your frustration, but also specifically the type of light that TVs emits. TVs are mainly LCDs or LEDs, which emit a lot of high frequency blue wavelengths light. Blue wavelengths boosts attention and reaction times, but blue light also has the strongest ability to offset our body clocks.
A certain type of photo receptor cell in our eyes called ‘melanopsin retinal ganglion’ send signals to the ‘suprachiasmatic neclues’, essentially the brain’s master clock. Blue light tricks it into thinking it’s daytime. When hit with blue, the SNC suppresses secretion of the hormone melatonin that helps us to sleep, and affects a host of other factors.
And it’s not just TVs! Tablets, Phones and Laptos all have this same blue light problem. As more and more of us take our phones to bed and text or check facebook late at night, we are getting the same blue light effects. Lot of people use TV or scrolling social media to relax our brains; it is one of the most passive activities we can do. But even thought it’s good for relaxing, but it’s not good for falling asleep. Blue light can delay your REM cycle enought to disrupt sleep, and if you are staying up later to watch TV, the little sleep you are getting is going to be worse quality, which can lead to a bunch of other problems. And sadly, our devices aren’t the only culprits. Energy efficient lighting also emits more blue wavelength light which raises a separate environmental concern at odds with personal health.
The solution could be as simple as the right protection against blue light for night owls, filters that cut blue light in favor of a reddish tint wihich you can get for our phone or computer or you can also read a book or a paper before bed.