In the evening the way you view light could effectively be flying your mind and body to a different time zone, throwing your sleep and energy levels all out-of-whack!
Viewing heaps of bright artificial light 2-3 hours before bedtime confuses your 24-hour master body clock (i.e., circadian rhythm), and upsets your sleep quality and duration by suppressing the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Sleep is critical for the learning and development of young people and research has suggested they are way more sensitive to evening bright light, with one study showing melatonin suppression of 23% and 38% after only 1 and 2 hours of device time.
But let’s be real – for some people the evening is your chance to get stuff done, so let’s look at some things you can do to minimise the downside.
|👉||Just as viewing light in the morning is good for anchoring your body clock to the current season, viewing the sunset is another cue to get everything in sync.|
|👉||Turn on your device Night-Mode and make it as warm/orange as possible.|
|👉||Minimise the brightness of any screen you’re looking at.|
|👉||Use the dimmers if you have them – if you don’t have dimmers, then they are fairly cheap to install.|
|👉||Turn off overhead lights and use soft floor lamps.|
|👉||If overhead lights need to be on, then they should be behind you.|
|👉||Candle/fire light does not have the same impact as artificial light, so turn off the lights and turn on the romance.|
|👉||If you wake up in the middle of the night absolutely don’t look at your phone, as this is when your mind is the most sensitive to light.|
|👉||If you’re really wired and can’t switch-off, then you could use this basic breathwork technique to calm your mind and body.|
|1||Blume C, Garbazza C, Spitschan M. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie : Schlafforschung und Schlafmedizin = Somnology : sleep research and sleep medicine. 2019;23(3):147-156. doi:10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x |
|2||Chang A-M, Aeschbach D, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014;112(4):1232-1237. doi:10.1073/pnas.1418490112 |
|3||Lunn RM, Blask DE, Coogan AN, et al. Health consequences of electric lighting practices in the modern world: A report on the National Toxicology Program’s workshop on shift work at night, artificial light at night, and circadian disruption. Science of The Total Environment. 2017;607-608:1073-1084. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.056|
|4||Hatori M, Gronfier C, Van Gelder RN, et al. Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies. npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease. 2017;3(1). doi:10.1038/s41514-017-0010-2 |
|5||Nagare R, Plitnick B, Figueiro M. Does the iPad Night Shift mode reduce melatonin suppression? Lighting Research & Technology. 2018;51(3):373-383. doi:10.1177/1477153517748189|
|6||Souman JL, Borra T, de Goijer I, Schlangen LJM, Vlaskamp BNS, Lucassen MP. Spectral Tuning of White Light Allows for Strong Reduction in Melatonin Suppression without Changing Illumination Level or Color Temperature. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2018;33(4):420-431. doi:10.1177/0748730418784041|