ipad and iphone at night

Are Businesses ‘Waking Up’ to the Role of Blue Light in Sleep?

ipad and iphone at nightAn estimated 83.6 million sleep deprived people are shuffling around the U.S. at any given moment – so it makes sense that businesses are investing in products and technologies that focus on ways to get a good night’s rest.

When smart lighting entered the market, it made changing the color temperature of lights easy. With the touch of a button, users could program their lights to wake them up slowly, like a sunrise.

Apple’s recent update to iOS 9.3 introduced Night Shift, a feature that takes its cues from the sun (or more specifically, your device’s clock and geolocation) to gently shift the color temperature of your display to the warmer end of the light spectrum at night which may help you get a better night’s sleep.

The Basics of Blue Light

Blue light, a naturally occurring wavelength emitted in sunshine, was manufactured into light emitting diodes (LED’s) by three Japanese scientists in the early 1990’s, an invention so innovative that it led to a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014.  Smartphones, HD televisions, computers … all of these devices are enhanced by the brilliant light of this technological marvel.

Does Blue Light Mess Up Sleep Patterns?

The theory is that the blue light does such a marvelous job of mimicking the sun, that it “tricks” our brains into thinking that it is still daytime. (See Using Your Tablet or Smart Phone in Bed May Be a Lousy Idea for more information.)

The theory is that the blue light does such a marvelous job of mimicking the sun, that it “tricks” our brains into thinking that it is still daytime.

What Next?

Currently, there’s not enough data to definitively say that the blue light from devices is what is keeping people awake at night. Rather, maybe your wakefulness is a result of too much mental stimulation from playing a game, or just plain worrying about some email that you checked right before you went to bed?

Although the jury is still out on whether or not screens emitting light on the blue spectrum actually disrupt natural sleep cycles, Apple’s latest release may be a catalyst for more discussion on the side effects of late night screening.

What do you think? Have you tried Night Shift, or products that do something similar? Has it helped you get a better night’s rest?

 

Renee Carlson

Renee Carlson

Renee specializes in digital marketing & content development for Pegasus Lighting. When she's not blogging about all-things-light, you’ll find her nestled in the ‘burbs of Raleigh with her husband & three active boys, getting lost in her Kindle, tackling a long list of home improvement projects, or cheering on the Carolina Panthers.