Updated: Apr 21
If you're like me, you know how important it is to get a good night's sleep. That's why I use tools like my Apple Watch with the Sleep Cycle and Rise Science apps to track my sleep, and I even have blackout drapes and blue-light blocking glasses to help me sleep better.
But a recent study from the University of Basel in Switzerland has me rethinking my approach to blue light. In the study, 29 volunteers were exposed to different levels of blue light for an hour before bedtime. While the higher levels of light did suppress melatonin levels, the effects only lasted for a short time and the participants did not report any changes in sleep quality. It's worth noting that this study only looked at the effects of blue light for one hour before bedtime, so it's possible that longer or closer exposures could have different results.
So, what can we conclude from this? While it's still a good idea to limit screen time before bed, especially if you have trouble falling asleep, it's okay to use your phone or laptop right before bed as long as you give yourself some time to wind down first. But keep in mind that there are other factors that can affect your sleep, like your sleep drive or sleep pressure, which gradually builds throughout the day and determines how tired you feel at night. Bright light during the day and dim light at night can also impact your sleep quality, so make sure to get plenty of sunlight and keep your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
In summary, while blue light may not be as harmful as we initially thought, there are still other steps you can take to improve your sleep, like limiting screen time, getting enough sunlight, and keeping your bedroom dark. Try out different strategies and see what works best for you.
Here's to deep, cozy, and restful sleep!
Blume C, Niedernhuber M, Spitschan M, Slawik HC, Meyer MP, Bekinschtein TA, et al. Melatonin suppression does not automatically alter sleepiness, vigilance, sensory processing, or sleep. Sleep. 2022 Nov 9;45(11).