Why Your Screen is Making You Tired.
In our 24-hour society, more and more of us are feeling run down, tired and not getting the rest we all need. Here are some techniques that can help.
The sleep cycle: Why you get to sleep when you get to sleep.
Our timetable of when our body wants to sleep are governed primarily by light entering our eyes. The circadian rhythm is established by light entering the pupils, leading to changes in hormone levels, which allows us to drift off to sleep. As lightwaves enter the eye, the level of melatonin that is released into the bloodstream by the pineal gland decreases. During the day, almost none is produced, and as the light level begins to decrease, melatonin in the blood increases dramatically, leading the body to seek sleep. This ceases as light enters the eyes from the morning sun, waking us up.
Blue is the area of the spectrum that causes hormone changes, which, if you have watched television in the dark, you will know is one of the main colour emitted.
Unfortunately we now live in a society that pushes light into our eyes at every opportunity – from the electric bulbs we have in our houses to televisions, computers, mobile phones and eBook readers. All this added light cannot be differentiated from sunlight by the receptors in our brain, and so prevents the release of sleep inducing melatonin.
How to sleep better:
There are several ways to stop blue light getting into your eyes and stopping you sleeping. The easiest, cheapest and most effective is simply to s witch off all light emitting technology around 2 hours before you plan to go to bed. This will be at least partially effective at triggering cues to get you to sleep. For most people this is not practical as they may have Work to catch up on, or Wish to Watch a movie before they go to bed, or just collapse with their laptop. There are solutions that allow you to do this.
This is an obvious one – Wire in a dimmer switch for your lights. That way you can regulate light levels and gradually lower the light, allowing your eyes to adjust to the new setting.
Lots of products, from laptops to ipads and ereaders emit blue light. There are no W many products on the market that attach to your screen to only block this blue light, and allow the screen to be comfortably used at night.
Blue light blocking glasses:
If you use multiple devices, or just want the freedom to do anything Whilst blocking out blue light, you should invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses. These let you do almost anything you would normally do but still allow melatonin production to begin.
Since our bodies have a natural rhythm, you may have to try some therapy during Waking hours to reset the body clock. The most common Way to do this is With a lightbox. These are lamps that Work using the same principles of blue light, only in reverse. At least 2500 lux (a measurement of light) is required for light therapy. This is around 10 times the brightness of a standard light bulb. Spending 30 minutes to 1 hour in close proximity to one of these lights Will begin to see a change in your hormone levels.
If you are working night shifts, try wearing sunglasses at the end of your shift. This can help you wind down and get rest during the day. It is also wise to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible, remove any sources of light, install thick curtains or a blackout blind and turn off your phone. Any distractions are much more likely to wake you in this situation.
Taking care of your health in other ways will also have an effect on your energy levels and mood. Make sure you get regular exercise, eat well and if needed, take vitamins – lack of sunlight can cause a deficiency in vitamin D, which can have numerous health consequences.
Overall, coping with nights shifts is tough. The most important thing to remember is that since you work during night hours, you should not expect to be active at the same times as the rest of society. Try and get enough sleep and don’t be hard on yourself if you wake up later than you would have liked – you body is telling you something.