It’s late at night and you’re laying in bed with your phone, perhaps reading this article. The lights are off, but you cannot fall asleep, so you busy yourself with YouTube or social media all the while panicking why your brain will not shut off and let you plunge into dreamland. There are several reasons why sleep loss or insomnia can occur. For example, stress or anxiety about a major event happening in the morning or overstimulating your mind with something analytical right before bed. Those issues can be resolved in manners, but what would you say if I told you that simply looking at your phone screen could be contributing to this condition?

Phones, tablets, computers, and televisions these days emit a harsh blue backlight that is actually mimics sunlight. In fact, there are several devices, like alarm clocks, that intentionally emit this type of light to help the user awaken more easily. This is because it signals to your brain that the day has started and you should be awake. So, you can imagine what happens late at night when you’re trying to sleep and you’re bombarding your eyes with excessive blue light. It is actually signalling to your brain that it is not yet time to sleep.

Now, there are a few solutions to this dilemma. The obvious one is to shut off or limit your usage of these types of devices after a certain time or within a certain amount of time before bed. This would ensure that your eyes have ample time to relax from the day’s activities and adjust to the darkened state of the world around you, thereby signalling the commencement of sleep signals. However, there are days where perhaps you wish to be on your device until late at night. Perhaps you are watching a movie on your phone or messaging a friend. These could be activities that relax your mind from a long day as opposed to listening to music or reading a hardcopy book. Or perhaps you prefer reading your books on electronic devices. Well, there is a solution that should help you.

On most smart electronic devices these days, like a smartphone or laptop, there is a function that controls the type of light emitted. On the iPhone, for example, there is a setting called ‘Night Mode’, which when activated, alters the backlight to only produce a yellow light. The yellow light is much softer than blue light and it does not send signals to the brain to postpone sleep. Additionally, this type of setting can usually be adjusted for overall brightness as well. If you are reading a book in the dark on a device, you can turn down your brightness to a lower level in order to help your eyes avoid strain. Eye strain will cause headaches. In addition, the night mode feature provides a scheduling function whereby you can set the time for the light to automatically shift from day to night mode. This way you never have to remember, and it can shift each night say three hours before your typical bedtime. You’ll feel a difference in bedtime ritual before no ti–Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

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