In today’s digital age, many of us are tethered to our devices throughout the day, even during our breaks. Using your smartphone or tablet before bed may seem harmless, but new research suggests it can affect your sleep.
The results of a small study published in the journal Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics add to a broader body of research highlighting the negative effects of artificial light on sleep quality. Participants who wore short-wave-blocking glasses for several hours before bed experienced an almost 58% increase in the amount of melatonin produced by the body during the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, melatonin is a natural hormone produced by a small gland in your brain that tells your body when to go to sleep.
In addition to objective sleep measurements, researchers also collected subjective sleep quality data through the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Results of a self-assessment questionnaire showed that study participants reported that they slept better, fell asleep faster, and slept longer each night. “It really impacts the eye,” said Dr. Lisa Ostrin, an assistant professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry who led the study. “Sleep is very important for the regeneration of many functions in our bodies.”
In this study, Ostrin and her colleagues examined the number of patients in 21 participants aged 17 to 42 years. Activity and sleep patterns were monitored. Each subject was asked to wear short wave-blocking glasses 3 hours before her bedtime for the full 2 weeks. Meanwhile, they were tasked with running their normal nightly digital routines. Researchers collected data in a variety of ways. Simulation for analyzing the pupillary response. A wearable actigraph device for monitoring activity, light exposure, and sleep. Saliva samples to assess melatonin levels.
Melatonin is suppressed when the body is exposed to artificial light, such as the blue light found in most LED-based devices. This happens because artificial light activates photoreceptors that prevent the production of melatonin. To combat the negative effects of blue light, Ostrin recommends using special light-blocking glasses.
“Using the blue goggles reduces input to the photoreceptors, improves sleep, and allows you to continue using the device,” she said. “It’s nice because I can stay productive at night.”
She also suggests using anti-glare lenses, spending less time looking at screens, and applying screen filters to block out artificial light. increase.