During the pandemic, most of us have been worried that we, or someone we love, would come down with COVID-19, and possibly face serious health complications.
We’re also feeling anxious about working from home, the kids switching back and forth from in-classroom learning to at-home schooling, and what the holidays are going to look like this year with COVID.
It’s enough to keep you lying awake at night… and most of us are.
So much so that another health danger has crept up on far too many of us…
Between the worry and a huge increase in the amount of screen time for those of us working, learning, and getting all our entertainment (and news) at home — more and more of us are living with insomnia.
Blue light’s effect on sleep
You see, all those screens we love so much, from our televisions and smartphones to laptops and tablets emit light in the blue light spectrum.
Although a little light doesn’t seem very dangerous, the truth is that research has repeatedly proven that exposure to blue light is a powerful sleep-disruptor.
And while your odds of ending up with sleep issues were approximately 25 percent just two years ago, with increasing screen time from those Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls and, of course, binge-watching your favorite Netflix shows, those odds could be even worse this year.
This means that if you aren’t already having problems getting the shuteye you need, it could only be a matter of time until exhaustion sets in.
Sadly, once the lack of sleep starts, health problems are just around the corner since poor sleep has been linked to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
And in a post-COVID world, where preexisting conditions spell serious trouble, getting the sleep you need is more important than ever.
Blocking blue light
Luckily, scientists from Indiana University have found a simple way to overcome the unforeseen impact of the pandemic, that blue light exposure that’s keeping you awake.
And it’s as simple as slipping on a pair of glasses.
In fact, after two separate studies, the researchers say that simply wearing blue-light glasses just before you go to sleep can help you get a better night’s rest.
The team collected data from a total of 130 participants, who were randomly chosen to test glasses that filtered blue light or placebo glasses. And they found that:
“Wearing blue-light-filtering glasses creates a form of physiologic darkness, thus improving both sleep quantity and quality.”
They say that wearing these glasses that work to filter blue light results in increased sleep quality as well as improved task performance and productivity the next day.
Night owls versus morning larks
And if you happen to be a night owl, listen up…
The results showed that the effects and benefits of blue light glasses were stronger for night owls than morning larks, probably due to the function of our internal body clocks.
So grab a pair of blue light glasses and be sure to slip them on for an hour or so before bed to limit the effects of the increased screen time caused by the pandemic on your sleep. You’ll rest better and have a more productive day ahead.
The dangers of sleep deprivation — American Heart Association
Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? — Mayo Clinic