Blue Light = ‘Blue’ Sleep
It’s probably no surprise that sleep and mental health are extremely related topics. If you’ve ever had even a couple of sleepless nights in a row you’ve definitely felt how it affected your mood and made you feel exhausted or even depressed.
It’s a well known fact that getting a good night’s sleep can help protect your mental and physical health, and increase your overall quality of life. It’s even more important for children and teens, who rely on quality sleep to support their growth and development.
But what many people don’t realise is that the ‘wind down’ at the end of the day is an important part of your pre-bed time ritual. And remember – hours spent scrolling through Instagram or getting stuck into the latest Netflix drama don’t count!
While you’re asleep, your brain unconsciously reflects upon the day’s experiences and files many of them away in your long-term memory. This is crucial for recalling vital information that you may have taken in during the working day or at school.
Sleep is a restorative and vital part of our lives so when it’s disturbed or not the best quality it could be, it can lead to a series of negative effects like irritability, loss of motivation and energy levels increased sensitivity and difficulty processing information or coping with emotions.
As you can probably tell, all of the above resemble symptoms of depression. And while there are a lot of different causes for depression, bad quality of sleep and sleep deprivation caused by too much exposure to blue light from digital devices is one of them.
Blue Light = ‘Blue’ Moods
Every May in the UK we commemorate the Mental Health Awareness Week.
According to Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. One of the most common types of mental health issues is called “clinical depression” – a mood disorder that causes you to feel exhausted and hopeless for long periods of time. Those feelings can affect your daily life.
More signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
And while there are a lot of causes of depression, no one can deny that sleep disorders are a major contributor. There are many ways to help you with sleep disorders but by minimizing your exposure to electronics that mimic daylight (smartphones, laptops, TV’s, tablets, etc.) is key.
This, of course, will seem frustrating for many of us who like to relax before going to sleep by scrolling through social media or watching a movie. But this is not only hurting your eyes but also distracts your ability to fall asleep faster.
This is because blue light messes up our melatonin levels – a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Therefore blocking harmful blue light, especially in the hours before sleep, should be your top priority if you want to improve your sleep quality.
Tired of Feeling Blue?
Our days now revolve around constant use of multiple digital devices and we don’t give enough time for our brain, eyes and body to rest, our mental health is taking a hit. If you are wondering what you can do to improve your emotional health and your sleep, these are the top 3 habits you should be introducing in your everyday life:
1. Blocking harmful blue light should be your top priority
The best practice is to have no screen time/daylight mimicking as the sun sets. What that means in practice is that you shouldn’t use any electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. If you must use digital devices before bed, we recommend using anti-blue light screen protectors for all your digital devices that will block 90% of all harmful blue light.
2. Exercise and eat healthily
Exercise is not only a very important component of maintaining our health overall, but it also can help us sleep much better at night.
If you don’t normally exercise, try adding just a quick walk to your daily routine – you will likely notice that you will fall asleep much more rapidly. Just make sure to schedule your workouts towards the beginning of the day, because if you exercise right before bed, the endorphins will actually make it more difficult for you to sleep.
If you’re someone who struggles to get any time to exercise, try to think about it as a fun activity rather than a chore – even a quick 5-minute morning stretch will activate your nervous system and add many benefits to your day!
For the 10 top foods that will help you sleep better, read our previous blog post.
3. Try sticking to a schedule and turning it into a daily routine
One of the biggest things that interfere with our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep is varying the times when we go to bed and wake up. For example, many of us sleep in on the weekends or go to bed a few hours early if we have had an extremely tiring day.
While this is unavoidable at times, try your best to stick to a consistent schedule when it comes to your sleep. Yes, this may mean waking up earlier than you want to on weekends, but after a few weeks of this, you will find yourself sleeping more soundly.
If you enjoyed this blog post, then you’ll likely be interested in reading other Ocushield’s articles about sleep, blue light, healthy lifestyle and more!
Here at Ocushield, we researched and developed an effective blue light filter that can simply be added to the screen of a computer or phone and give your eyes — and your body — a well-deserved rest.
Our filters are the first and only Class 1 medically-rated screen protectors in the world so you can rest easy knowing that your eyes are being kept safe.
Browse our range of blue light filters for phones, tablets and laptops now.