Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health yet most of us do not get enough (good) sleep. Lack of sleep, both in quantity and quality, may result in all kinds of nasty effects including getting stressed, depressed, sick or fat.
“Sleeping fewer than 6 hours a night raises your heart attack risk by 50%”
Our bodies are designed to be exceptionally in tune with our environment. Take, for instance, the fact that many people have trouble getting asleep during full moon. (This, by the way, has nothing to do with the moon influencing the tides in oceans since our bodies, although largely consisting of water, are simply too small to feel the effects.)
But that aside.
Another form of environmental light that interferes with our sleep is the glimmer and gleam produced by electronic devices.
The human body is designed to be remarkably in tune with its natural environment. – See more at: http://www.mensfitness.com/life/gearandtech/can-lightbulb-help-you-sleep-better#sthash.msmuGYzd.dpuf
The past few years, in our electronic age, with the increased use of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the quality of our sleep has deteriorated even more. Many of us are addicted to our handhelds and we often take them with us to bed.
“63% of smartphone users age 18-29 say to drift off to sleep with a smartphone or tablet in their bed”
The problem is not only that your brain activity increases while Instagramming, checking Facebook, or lurking on Reddit thus keeping you alert and awake.
The electromagnetic radiation smartphones emit also affects the quality of our sleep as studies show. It delays and disrupts sleep as they found at MIT. Specifically because it impacts the brain’s stress system.
That’s why experts recommend to leave your electronic devices powered off and even better, in another room. But let’s be realistic here, who does that? (Your smartphone is your alarm clock too so you need it next to you.)
Combine the radiation with the stress of constantly having to keep up with what’s going on on social media, checking email and so on and you have a firesure way to keep you extremely alert and make it hard to wind down and get the benefits of good healthy sleep.
But that’s not all..
There’s also the fact that the blue light these devices emit interferes with melatonin release. Melatonin, the sleep promoting hormone that is released when it’s getting dark, is reduced twice as much as other types of light according to researchers at Harvard and the University of Toronto.
“Too much screen time reduces melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleep”
So what do we do?
Put our devices away during the evening in favor of a good night’s sleep?
No of course not. We can’t. It’s too much fun.
After all, for relaxation we also need that meditation app. So until they invent smartphones and tablets that emit sleep promoting light we have to cope with the downsides of being gadget junkies.
Or maybe the new Breakfree app that measures how addicted you are will be of some support.
“63% of people aren’t getting enough sleep”
The engineers at Apple, HTC, and the other big gadget manufacturers are still in the dark on how to do that.
Luckily other, good-for-you gizmos, exist that help you fall asleep. And as a result, allow you to more quickly reach a deep state of sleep which is crucial for nocturnal recovery.
Light bulbs and smart devices that help you sleep
One of those is Saffron’s Drift Light, a bulb geared towards improving sleep onset.
It’s a LED light bulb that mimics sunset. It emits a warm non-blue light that fades over 37 minutes thus guiding you to sleep. Why 37 minutes? Because this is the average duration of a sunset.
The Drift Light is designed as a more convenient alternative to dedicated bedside lights that fade at nighttime and gradually illuminate when it’s time to wake up.
Great value at $29 each if you ask me.
Check it out here.
Saffron plans to introduce a range of lights with different color temperatures enhancing people’s energy in different ways.
“The Drift Light helps users calm down, but we are working on a solution that will also help users wake up easier and feel more energised”.
A somewhat similar bulb is the Definity Digital Good Night light. This less disruptive light bulb emits less blue light than the standard bulb but does not have the fading feature the Drift has.
Interesting fact: this bulb was used by NASA to help astronauts sleep in space.
Less affordable at $69.99 a piece.
More info and buying at Lighting Science.
Another device that offers a similar functionality is the Withings Aura smart sleep system.
It offers much more than the sleep promoting light bulbs including playing soothing music, wake you up with the right type of light and sound at the perfect time.
It ‘knows’ which time is right because it is constantly adapting to your sleep patterns, even in real time, thus wake you up at the right moment in your sleep cycle
Less minimal as a simple LED bulb this app, device, and sleep sensor mat also use the scientific proven link between light intensity and color, and Melatonin secretion.
The pad senses your heart rate, movements, and breathing, while the light also scans your room for noise, light, and temperature.
More info at Withings.
I have been taken a light (no pun) approach on the matter of blue light and electromagnetic radiation from devices and its adverse effects but this sure is something to take seriously.
Especially for kids and teenagers who need more sleep than adults since studies show that sleeping with smartphones can cause mood and personality changes, ADHD-like symptoms, and depression.
The World Health Organization has even warned that working the night shift (which is typically under blue light) may cause may cause cancer.
Which gadget would you prefer?
Or do you just lay away your devices a few hours before going to bed?