Avoiding the Blue Light Blues

If you’re one of the millions of people who wind down before bed by reading on a device screen (95% of Americans admitted to this habit in a National Sleep Foundation survey), that late-night emailing and Facebooking could be jeopardizing your good night’s sleep.  Sleep experts agree that ideally, we should stop using smartphones, tablets, and laptops at least three hours before bedtime.

The light emitted from the screen stimulates the brain and signals us to enter a wakeful state. And more specifically, the blue light emitted inhibits your body from producing melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep. Not only does this blue light exposure disrupt your sleep that night, but it sets you up for future fatigue, circadian rhythm disruption, and the host of accompanying negative health effects including obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

In today’s fast-paced world it’s hard to follow the three-hour rule. Thankfully, major device manufacturers have heeded science and added a “night mode” into the latest versions of their operating systems. The feature works by removing some of the blue light emitted from the display and turns it to a warmer orange hue.  Everyone should take advantage of this simple step toward sounder sleep.

Apple’s “night shift” mode (for iOS versions 9.3 and higher) can be accessed from the settings menu under “display and brightness” and it’s simple to set a schedule for automatic engagement during the hours you use your device before bedtime.

For those using Android phones, activating this feature can be accomplished by downloading the “Night Mode Enabler” third-party app from the Google Play store.

SIX Safety Systems delivers fit-for-duty solutions that mitigate the risks associated with drugs, alcohol, and fatigue in the workplace. 



Newsletter Sign Up