December 2, 2016

Modern Day Smart Phones – A Catastrophe For Your Healthy Sleep Routine

Modern-day technology has made our lives easier, but also made us busy and so addicted to the use of these technologies that we fail to sense the dangers associated with them. The first and last thought on everyone’s mind these days is using our smartphones or laptops for every need. We are not yet ready to move out of our bed or even wear our glasses in the morning but will squeeze our eyes to see what’s new on our phone as a first-morning ritual.

Have you ever wondered if you wake up in the morning and face morning blues even after getting a good night’s sleep? What is affecting your usual sleep routine which makes you feel exhausted all the time no matter what? Let’s dig into what could be the cause of our day-to-day sleep issues?

Blue light and its modern-day sources:

All the modern-day equipment that has become a necessity in our daily lives uses LED technology to establish higher levels of brightness and clarity. These LEDs emit light in the wavelength of 400-500 nm of the visible spectrum or the blue band. Blue light wavelength affects our lives in the following ways:

  • Darkness signals the brain cells to produce melatonin that kick starts our sleep cycle.
  • Constant exposure to bright screen during the night hours would stimulate the eye cells that are responsive to the particular blue light wavelength.
  • These cells, in turn, signals the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain to shut off melatonin production and thus shifts your sleep cycle.

What causes insomnia related to the use of smartphones at night?

Sleep disorders due to blue light from your smartphones are rising exponentially as people use these technological advancements just before sleeping or within one hour of going to bed. This problem concerns children more than adults as their cornea is lesser developed and tends to affect their eyes the most.

  • Blue light is more pronounced to be exposed to our body in the daytime.
  • Any exposure to such wavelength, our body signals to follow the daytime routine, making us alert and responsive at night.
  • Melanopsin is a photopigment present in our eyes particularly receptive to blue light.
  • It suppresses melatonin, our timing messenger which is much required for proper circadian rhythms.
  • These effects get intensified when smartphones or laptops are used in dark rooms.


The effects can be reduced by:

  • Using these devices at a safe distance from your eyes, at least inches away, and at a lower brightness setting.
  • Limiting the usage of these devices within 1 hour before bedtime.
  • By using applications such as Flux, helps your device to adjust display color temperature as per the daytime to reduce nighttime eye strain.
  • By using glasses using blue-blocking filters while using any of your electronic devices.

Are these blue light sources actually damaging our eyes?

Is it just the Melanopsin that is affecting our eyes or does the blue light also have damaging effects on the eyes too? Our eyes might be facing the following dangers when overexposed with these blue light sources:

  • Scientists link blue light exposure to macular degeneration that is often age-related.
  • It increases the risk of cataracts even in children.
  • Digital eye strain syndrome is commonly reported and treated these days.
  • Also called computer vision syndrome, it affects the eye causing stress, fatigue, issues with refocusing, redness, headache, and even blurred vision.
  • Some cases of digital eye strain also report neck pain, double vision, and vertigo.

Overexposure to computer screens causes this eye fatigue when you forget even blinking your eyes frequently. So always follow a 20/20 rule that asks you to focus on any object that lies at least 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of computer exposure.

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