Where are you reading this? Obviously since this is published online it is some sort of electronic device which is emitting blue light. Better yet, I should be asking when are you reading this on your electronic device?
While I greatly appreciate you and your interest in reading this, or anything I write, I want you to read it at the right time.
Let’s flip this and discuss what the wrong time is. Bedtime.
It’s no mystery that many people’s lives revolve around smartphones. Just this morning I watched a segment on the news about holiday shopping and the anchors admitted bringing their phones into the bathroom. While a smartphone has not been shown to have negative effects on your colon health, it does affect your sleep health.
WHAT IS SLEEP?
According to the American Sleep Association sleep is “a normal active state of all living creatures in which the mind and body are less responsive. It is believed that sleep is a restorative process.”
Sleep is necessary for everyone. Especially if you train regularly, sleep is the time your body can repair and rebuild. Sleep is generally broken down into five levels (1, 2, 3, and 4) and REM (rapid eye movement). 50% of our sleep is within Stage 2.
THE TECH HAZARD AND BLUE LIGHT
It has become a common occurrence, people reading their phones, tablets, and playing electronic games in bed.
Let’s look at some statistics as they relate to bed and smartphones.
- 71% of American’s sleep with their phone in bed or next to it.
- 35% of people admit that their smartphone is the first thing they think of upon waking
- 40 million Americans suffer a sleep disorder
- 95% of people use a phone before bed
- 50% of people in one study will check their phone if they wake up during the night
PUTTING A SPOTLIGHT ON SLEEP AND TECHNOLOGY
According to an article from Sleep.org electronic devices emit what is called “blue light” which our brain perceives as daylight. This light hinders the production of melatonin which is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
The use of electronics before bed also keeps your brain active. What you read, watch, or play stimulates your brain and that stimulation can very well maintain well after you have put the device to bed. This could cause a disruption in getting to sleep or cause you to wake up throughout the night.
Finally keeping your phone near your bed can disrupt sleep due to incoming e mails, texts, or other alerts.
THE TAKE AWAY: SLEEP ON IT
Whether you train or not, sleep is vital to your health and fitness.
Do you lift weights? Well sleep is necessary for your body to secrete growth hormone. This is one of the reasons babies sleep so much (they’re rapidly growing and developing).
Furthermore, several studies show that lack of sleep can lead to poor insulin resistance. This translates to an inability to control insulin levels and lose fat.
Lack of sleep also can lead to an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol lead to breakdown of muscle tissue. Cortisol reduces protein synthesis and inhibits tissue growth. In excess, it can hinder immune function, increase abdominal fat, and lead to reduced glucose utilization.
So, you can see that lack of sleep can lead to a reduction in muscle mass as well as an increase in body fat. You eat right and work hard in the gym to improve your fitness, not to have your results diminished when you call it a night.
WHAT TO DO TO AVOID EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF BLUE LIGHT?
Use these tips to keep electronic from hindering your sleep and backfiring your hard work.
- Stop using all electronic devices at least sixty minutes before going to bed.
- If you can’t give up the technology in bed, consider changing the light your phone or tablet emits. A simple software download can allow your device to adapt its light from day to night. Check out lux, which makes the light on your device emit like room light as opposed to sunlight at night.
- Take 2-5 mg sublingual melatonin thirty minutes before going to bed
- Avoid checking your texts if you wake up in the middle of the night.
- If you can’t avoid blue lights that emit from your Tv, Phone, and Computer. Use blue light blocking glasses or a screen cover on your phone and computer.
- Avoid using energy saving light bulbs in rooms where you sleep. These bulbs emit stronger amounts of blue light.