Hey everybody. I’m Dr. Steph Pinnow, your chiropractor for Sleep in Sun Prairie WI. This video today is focusing on the dark side of light. That is really bright, I know. So what I wanna do is focus on how light actually interrupts our sleep at night. And if you’ve watched some of the other videos, a lot of this has to do with melatonin and the release of melatonin.
So let’s do a little bit of a history lesson first. Think back to humans and what they did before the invention of electricity and the invention of the light bulb. What did they use for light? The sun. So what happens is, when the sun came out, that’s when they would do all of their daily activities. When darkness fell, it signaled time for sleep.
Sounds super simple, right? What happens, and again, I did a video about melatonin, but what happens when darkness occurs, the body starts releasing melatonin, which tells the body that it’s time to sleep.
All is well and good until you start introducing things like artificial light that interrupt that production of melatonin, meaning that the timing of your sleep is prolonged and it takes longer for you to be able to fall asleep.
So here’s an example. If I think about our bedroom at home, we each have a nightstand, and then we have a very dim light on that nightstand. Artificial light is going to inhibit melatonin production, and it really doesn’t matter how bright that light is.
So for example, a little night light is going to have almost the same effect as a bedside light that produces about 200 Lux. That’s going to still suppress that melatonin production by about 50%, meaning that it’s gonna take you even longer to fall asleep if you are having that light.
Even if you’re reading a book or you’re just relaxing in that calm light, it’s still going to interrupt your melatonin production. That’s one issue that we’ve had earlier on in terms of the invention of the light bulb.
The second problem occurs with the invention of the blue LED light. So basically, LED light is the short wavelength within the blue spectrum, which happens to mimic daytime activity in humans.
So the body is seeing that LED light in this flashlight and telling the us sun’s out, it’s time to wake up. There are LED lights everywhere. They’re in your flashlights, they’re in your light bulbs overhead, because they’re more energy efficient. So a lot of people are switching to LED lights, but they’re also in your phones and your tablets, your iPads, your Kindles, that kind of thing.
And if you are reading those or scrolling on your phone right before bed, your body is seeing that daytime light and it’s sending the signal to wake up and suppress that melatonin production. That means that, and you’ve heard this before, experts saying, if you want a better night’s sleep, don’t read your cell phone.
Don’t read anything, just relax and go to bed in the dark or very dull light. There’s been a lot of studies in terms of what LED right before bed does to your sleep. And what they found is that LED light actually is about twice as harmful as that normal artificial light.
So again, this is not to scare you. I don’t want to tell you exactly what to do, but if you are somebody who’s struggling with sleep, one of the easiest things that you can do is change your bedtime routine. We’ve got a lot of information about things that you can do for sleep specifically, but when it comes to light, some very simple solutions are to A: obviously don’t scroll through your cell phone or your iPad right before bed.
But also too, if you do find yourself having to do that, or you need to check an email and whatever the reasons may be, there are certain filters that you can put on.
I know for example, for my iPhone, I can turn the blue light off and it will automatically do it from sunset to sunrise. Sometimes people will also purchase blue light lenses.
So if they’re doing something at night, they just put the lenses on to decrease/eliminate that blue light coming in and continuing to wake them up. All right, I hope you learn some about light. I hope that you make some very easy changes.
And I know for us, this is especially difficult, because our kids love to sleep with light. They’re scared of the dark, and it has been very eye opening to research light in terms of sleep. And we know that we have to make some changes too.
So we’ll keep you posted on that. All right, thanks so much for tuning in.