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Why you could be having trouble sleeping ?

At night, most of us will realize we can’t sleep; we’re still on our phones.

We think close to bedtime is the perfect time to snuggle up, cradle our phones and scroll through Facebook or Instagram just for a little bit. But yet we find ourselves wide awake enough for that little bit to turn into a lot of bit. 

Why?

Circadian Rhythm

Humans have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm.  In short,  sunlight means ‘wake up, time for fun in the sun’ versus the lack of light, which means ‘it’s time to sleep’.

But it’s not limited to sunlight—artificial light, which our phone emits, can also affect our circadian rhythm.

Physiologically, melatonin is a hormone that influences the circadian rhythm. High production of melatonin encourages us to sleep; reduced production of melatonin will encourage us to stay more awake. This is why most sleep aids on the market utilizes melatonin for those of us who can’t sleep.

But isn’t there a more natural way to induce sleeps and avoid using supplements?

Blue light/Warm light

Not all lights are created equal.

Blue light’s wavelength just happened to be one of the most powerful suppressant of melatonin—whether it be from the phone, television, computer, or even regular room lighting. (2)

But there are other colors that are less luminous and harsh towards optimal sleep.

Orange or red tints are shown to be much more tolerable and less disruptive for sleep. (1)

What should we do since we can’t sleep?

There’s no need to throw away your phone and live in the dark ages. Here are some tips and tricks:

  • Newer generations of phones have built in ‘Nightshift mode’. This feature is available for phones like the iphone 5s and above, the Samsung Galaxy 7,  and the Note 7 (if it didn’t blow up),
  • The‘Nightshift mode’ App is available for those with slightly older generations of phone.
  • Orange/red tinted lamps for those of you who love DIY or available for purchase.
  • Multiple settings lamp. There are some lamps that can change to studying mode, reading mode, and softer, warm light for sleep preparations.
  • You can wear orange tint sunglasses at night. It may look dorky but it’s possible to rock orange tinted sunglasses for work or before bedtime.
  • Changing phone usage and sleep habits is the ultimate organic method. Avoiding illuminant light two hours before bed, honoring a sleep schedule, and using a good old fashion alarm clock will be much more beneficial towards achieving well-rested sleep.

 

Blue is not always the enemy of sleep

There’s no need to avoid blue for bedtime. In fact, a travelodge study shows many people find the color of blue is associated with soothing, calming, and relaxing mood before slumber.  (3) Perfect for those who can’t sleep–not to say it’s an instant fix, but it may make a significant difference. 

Decorating the room interspersed with blue, such as blue wallpaper, blue bed sheetspillow cases or duvet covers, may contribute to a more well rested sleep.

However, for those who are not a fan of blue, green and yellow have also been shown to have restful effects on people too. (3)

 

How much light is acceptable?

It doesn’t take much light to disrupt sleep. Table lamps with a mere 8 lux can still have that effect. (1)

For reference and comparison:

Lux Light Level Chart

Conditions Illumination (LUX)
Summer Sunshine 25,000 Lux
Overcast Skies 1,000
Well-lit office 500
Sunset 400
Minimum for easy reading 300
Twilight 3.4
Clear full moon 1
Typical Starlight .002
Poor starlight .0001

 

In the end, we get it. It’s hard to put the phone down.

However, this is definitely noteworthy to keep in mind.

A Harvard study shows the possible connection between the lights emitted from phones and TV can lead to: several types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even depression. (1,  2)

Ideally, this correlation should jump start your decision to reduce phone usage at night. Snuggle up to a luscious, fluffy pillow instead.