RED LIGHT, BLUE LIGHT: THE REASON YOU CAN'T SLEEP AT NIGHT

Does anybody know when the next iPhone is releasing?

I'm not going to buy it or anything; I just enjoy the hype that comes along with it.

The morning the iPhone 8 was to be released, I was going for my usual morning jog, and the line at the Apple store was insane, you guys.

It was 4:30 A.M and the store wouldn't be opening until 10 and the line curved around the corner.

Then again, I personally don't have an iPhone, so maybe I'm the one that's not being rational here.

So it's a no-brainer that our smartphones or any other electrical devices have been preventing us from enjoying a good night’s sleep. Even if you were to get those 8 hours of rest, you may somewhat still feel drained or utterly restless in the morning.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, "Forty-five percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days and...Despite sleeping within the recommended number of hours a night, 35 percent of Americans report their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair.”

Fact: The invention of technology and its continuous evolution has had a drastic impact on our environment and everyday lives.

We live in an era that is so dependent on technology that it saddens us when we depart from it.

Have you ever put your phone down for a minute just to pick it right back up?

Yeah, pretty sad.

Hey, I'm not judging.

I'm just as human as you are so I get it. I write for a living, and you can be sure it's not on paper with a pen.

I'm glued to my laptop screen for several hours a day.

So what is blue light?

  • The first thing you should know is that blue light is all around us. When our brilliant sun (the primary source of blue light) shoots rays through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths collide with air molecules (this is the reason the sky is blue!). Now you know what to tell your kids next time they are curious as to why the sky is blue.

  • Secondly, blue light is not the culprit here, but like anything else in the world, too much of it is not good for you. Blue light is associated with daytime; therefore, it elevates our moods and goes as far as keeping us alert and active. If we were to go back in time hundreds of years ago, we didn't have light, technology, or many electronic devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our bodies automatically knew it was daytime and when it was time to hit the hay.

Keyword: daytime, because blue light at night is when the complications arise.

dark-half-moon-luna-890845.jpg

Now, the human eye performs its job spectacularly as it prevents UV rays from reaching the retina BUT here's the downside:

All blue light passes through the cornea and lens and wreaks havoc on our retina. Think of how you stare at the sun for too long, and your eyes start to burn. Blue Light Exposed states that even though blue light is known to elevate our moods, "exposure to blue light at night can lower the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, and disrupts your circadian rhythm. Harvard researchers have linked working the night shift and exposure to blue light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate) diabetes, heart disease, obesity and an increased risk for depression."

Sounds a little over the top, right?

How can staring at a phone at night lead to cancer? Several studies were conducted that verify blue light can lead to such measures.

Red light wavelengths, however, are just a tad longer than blue light wavelengths. When you think of red light, think of a fireplace, red fluorescent lights, and the color of the sky when the sun sets.

There are all very calming scenarios which promote melatonin, the sleep hormone that is produced to help your body regulate the circadian cycle.

Do you ever wonder why we get so drowsy when it’s dark out? Melatonin is made by the pineal gland which is known to be inactive during the day and “turns on” at night; this is when melatonin production is at its highest. As it is released into our bloodstream, we begin to feel less alert and our eyelids begin to droop because our body is in need of a good night’s sleep.  

How cool is it that our bodies have their own alarm clocks? The manifestations of the human body will never cease to amaze me.

Now, what red light does is create a biochemical effect that helps improve the ATP (energy currency) sources in our bodies. Specifically, it strengthens the mitochondria, the powerhouse that provides energy to cells through respiration.

By using red light therapy, it is thought that it could help increase energy by increasing the function of the mitochondria.  

Red light is being used in many therapy practices today including skin issues and cellular rejuvenation.

So in the end, blue light has its pros and cons but is only meant for daytime activities. It disrupts sleeping patterns; cortisol levels and goes as far as to cause significant illnesses. Red light has several benefits, but unfortunately, not many people are aware of what or don’t think much of it.

When it comes to taking care of our bodies, we want the absolute best.

Simple steps such as low lighting after the sun goes down, wearing glasses with blue light blocker coating, downloading an app that filters blue light, and using red lighting can go a long way to helping you keep your sight healthy.