How Artificial Wrecks Sleep & How Blue Light Can Help | Chris Kresser
HCTP Banner

How Artificial Light Is Wrecking Your Sleep, and What to Do about It

by

Last updated on

blue light and sleep, blue light melatonin
Blue light exposure at night can adversely affect a good night's sleep. istock.com/IngaNielsen

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” – Irish Proverb

The evidence for the health benefits of adequate, restful sleep is overwhelming. Decades of research has shown that sleeping between 7 and 9 hours per night can relieve stress, reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, improve memory and cognitive function, and may even help with weight loss. (1) As many of us know by now, getting adequate, high-quality sleep is one of the most important, yet under-appreciated steps you can take to improve your overall health and well-being.

Yet for all we know about the benefits of sleep, there are millions of Americans who are still suffering from disordered sleep and insomnia. More than one-third of Americans report getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and 63 percent of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. (2, 3) The negative effects of sleep deprivation are serious: sleep durations that are consistently shorter than 7 hours in a 24-hour period are associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors, depression, automobile and workplace accidents, learning and memory problems, and an overall increase in mortality. (4) Some may argue that poor sleep can even undo the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise routine. (5, 6)

Could using electronics at night ruin your sleep and increase your risk of death and disease? Check out this article to find out. #healthylifestyle #wellness #chriskresser

So what’s causing this epidemic of sleep disruption in our country? Many experts feel that our excessive use of communications technology (e.g. cell phones, laptops, television, etc.) is driving this significant level of sleep deprivation. If this is the case, it’s no wonder so many Americans struggle with poor sleep, since 95 percent have reported using some type of electronics at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. (7) Checking email, watching your favorite late-night comedian, or responding to a text message in bed seems harmless enough, but the sleep disruption caused by these light-emitting devices is significant and potentially harmful to your health.

Research has demonstrated that nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles. (8) Therefore, a reduction in melatonin at night is associated with subjective levels of sleeplessness. (9, 10) But melatonin suppression has far worse consequences than simply poor sleep outcomes: it has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair immune system function, and possibly lead to cardiometabolic consequences such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease. (11, 12, 13)

With serious consequences like these, preventing melatonin suppression should be a top priority in anyone’s healthy lifestyle.

Blue Light and Melatonin Suppression

It is well established that short-wavelength or “blue” light is the most melatonin-suppressive; this is the type of light typically emitted by devices such as televisions, computer screens, and cellphones. (14, 15) To produce white light, these electronic devices must emit light at short wavelengths, close to the peak sensitivity of melatonin suppression. (16) This means that products such as tablets, smartphones, and other devices with self-luminous electronic displays are major sources for suppressing melatonin at night, thereby reducing sleep duration and disrupting sleep. (Figure credit: Wood et al, 2013)

Melatonin graph

Along with blue light emitted from electronic devices, research has shown that being exposed to normal levels of room lighting can have similar negative effects on melatonin. One study showed that one hour of moderately bright light exposure (1000 lux) was sufficient to suppress nocturnal melatonin to daytime levels. (17) Since melatonin suppression is intensity dependent, researchers suggest that lower intensities can have similar suppression effects at longer durations; for example, two hours at 500 lux would have a similar effect as one hour at 1000 lux. (For examples of lux values, check out this helpful chart.) This means that typical room light alone can have a similar suppressing effect on melatonin secretion as the light from backlit screens. (18)

How to Prevent Melatonin Disruption (Without Tossing Your iPhone)

Since it is predominantly the blue wavelength that is most affective in melatonin suppression, it stands to reason that blocking this wavelength of light should be enough to significantly reduce, or even eliminate the melatonin-suppressing effects of nighttime light exposure. (19) In fact, blocking blue light has been shown in several studies to be extremely effective in reducing the melatonin-suppressing effects of intense and/or blue light. (20, 21)

There are a few possible solutions for reducing your exposure to blue light at night. One that is commonly used in the ancestral health community is f.lux, a program that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. This program can be installed on computers, iPads, and iPhones, and may have a significant effect on your melatonin secretion when using these devices at night. The best part about this program is that it turns on automatically in response to the daylight in your particular time zone, so there’s no need to remember any adjustments to the screen.

A better option, in my opinion, is to use amber-lensed goggles once the sun has gone down. These blue-blocking lenses are highly effective in reducing the effects of blue light exposure, and in most cases completely eliminate the short-wavelength radiation necessary for nocturnal melatonin suppression. (22, 23, 24) These goggles have been shown to improve sleep quality as well as mood, simply by blocking blue light and simulating physiologic darkness.

The main reason I recommend using these goggles is because normal room light alone is enough to suppress melatonin at night, and unless you’re shutting off all the lights in your house when the sun sets, you’re still at risk for disrupting your melatonin-driven circadian rhythms. (25) While f.lux is a useful tool for your backlit devices, it’s nearly impossible to address all sources of melatonin-suppressing light in today’s world of modern technology and late-night work and entertainment habits. Amber-colored goggles are one of the only tools available to completely eliminate all blue light exposure at night, without ‘going off the grid’ and powering down your entire house after 7 PM.

There are two excellent (and cheap!) options for amber-lensed goggles on Amazon. The cheapest and most popular option is the Uvex brand, but if you wear eyeglasses you’ll need to get a wraparound pair like the Solar Shield brand. I’ve had many patients swear by these goggles, and if you can get over the dorkiness factor, you may find they make a big difference in your sleep quality, and perhaps even your general health and wellbeing as well!

Have you ever used amber-lensed goggles, or f.lux, to improve your sleep quality? Share your experience in the comments below.

435 Comments

Join the conversation

    • Be REALLY grateful they will grow out of this. I have a 21 year old with autism who still keeps baby/toddler unpredictable hours, so….there are people out there who never get to move out of that stage of life. I’m replying half in jest, too, but sometimes a new perspective is uplifting. If you have a healthy kid, hold on tight with gratitude to the platitude “this, too, shall pass.”

    • Apply the information in this article that’s what you can do.

      I had three within 2 years – now one 3 and 18 month old twins. I figured out that light was an issue about 6 months in with the first child. They all sleep 10 – 11 hours a night now. Every night. I found orange and yellow light bulbs for lights in their rooms and instituted a “no screens” policy after supper. I turn lights out and keep lights very low after the sun goes down. I make certain to give the babies their night feeding in a pitch black room. On the odd occasion when they would wake up, or when they were doing night feedings I made sure there was almost no light, and what there was had no blue. You can’t read with a red light very well (with most children’s books) but it works great for a feeding/changing light in the middle of the night. BTW Lowe’s has different colors of CFD bulbs – red, orange, and yellow seem to work great.

      There are other behavioral things we did as well, but light has been a critical factor for my family’s sleep and health.

    • https://www.google.com/search?q=light+baby+sleep

      Multiple sources recommend using low/no-blue light to help your baby sleep (and to help the adult, who gets up in the night, not to disrupt his/her sleep, as well).

      That’s another reason we put amber-coated bulbs in the refrigerator! See above and links for more recommendations. Once you understand how “white” fluorescent/LED light regulates sleepiness, you will find it easy enough to eliminate that — and you can get around just fine with amber or red nightlights.

      There’s one big commercial company selling a very bright low-blue bulb now: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Definity-Digital-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2500K-A19-Sleep-Aid-LED-Light-Bulb-DFN-A19-60WE-SLP-120/204719970

      I bought one — won’t buy more as they’re way too expensive and too bright for nighttime use, but the single one is plenty to illuminate a whole room in the early evening for activities like sewing where matching colors accurately counts a lot.

      • PS, a perhaps clearer explanation of LED monitors:
        http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/332875-33-difference-backlight-monitor

        ——quote follows——
        A LED monitor is a LCD monitor with LED backlight.

        All consumer level “LED monitors” uses edge LED backlighting. Also the LED used do not actually produce white light. Instead blue LEDs with a yellow phosphorus coating to imitate white are used as backlight. A few people who use “LED monitors” have complained that the colors do seem slightly bluish, but most people do not notice it.

        I believe these are your only current options for actual LED based monitors;
        http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-monitors/cat-oledmonit
        Unless you have a trust fund or are otherwise independently wealthy I suggest you forget about it.
        —- end quote —-

  1. Chris, usually I take a shower at night before bed. It would be hard to wear those glasses in the shower. Maybe I should take the shower earlier perhaps at 7pm so wearing the glasses is not needed at that time? How do you handle this?

    • Dimmer switch in bathroom helps a lot with this. I usually shower late at night, and I would get no sleep if I did it in standard bathroom lighting. Put dimmers on all bathroom (overhead/vanity) light switches and this will help some. I keep it almost fully dark in there–just enough light to find the soap and the towel afterward.

    • As one reader mentioned earlier – use one electric candle in the bathroom. It gives off a warm yellow glow and is enough light to be able to shower, brush teeth, etc.

  2. LOL… One night I was adjusting the TV color, contrast, etc while wearing my Uvex glasses. Ummmmm, didn’t look too good the next day. 😉 I don’t recommend that.

    I did buy a pair of nice looking frames from my eye doctor (that fit me almost three years ago with Ortho-K lenses I wear while sleeping/take out next morning and can see all day!) with the blue-blocking lenses in them and use those, especially when out after dark and don’t want to look like a complete dork with the Uvex glasses. Though I did go to Costco one night and wore them. I was kind of disappointed that no one looked at me strangely The other frames do fit/feel better than the Uvex pair. I hope they are as effective. The optician seemed to think they would be, but I have my doubts. I figure they are better than nothing.

    Well written post, Chris, that needs to be shared. I’ll do just that!

  3. I use Gunnars lenses and love them but I don’t remember to use them all the time. Seems easier to just get off the computer at a set time every night.

  4. I use the uvex glasses. They work great, however, I have to lift them from my eyes a lot to get a clear view of what I’m doing while cooking. Some things, like food doneness are hard to decipher.

  5. I’ve been using f.lux, a nearly completely dark bedroom, electronic candles with timers and red light bulbs for quite a while now and got great results with those.

    I recently added the amber glasses and they made a noticeable difference as well as tv watching was one issue that all of the other items did not address. Now I’ll find myself getting sleepy and yawning while watching tv. On the nights I forget to wear the amber glasses I’ll be wide awake until I turn off the tv.

    A completely dark bedroom was a big help but I found that cracking the window shade just a few inches allowed enough natural light in in the morning to help wake me up. Otherwise I had a tendency to just keep sleeping.

    The electronic candles are great. They give off a warm yellow/orange/red glow and allow me to turn off all of the regular lights in my house at night. Most are set to come on automatically at 6pm each night and turn off at 11pm when I head to bed. I keep an additional one in the bedroom that runs from 11pm till 4am in case I need to get up during the night. Completely dark is wonderful but can be a pain for shins and toes if you need to get up.

    • I agree with the electronic candles – I just put one in the hallway, the bedroom and the bathroom. They give off just enough light to see and the warm glow is calming.

  6. Hey Chris!
    Great article, definitely will “share” it on fb. In regards to melatonin production, bluelight and goggles: is blue light entering through the eye the major factor in melatonin? I like the idea of having those amber lenses (and already use f.lux) but I’m curious about blue light hitting the skin…does that have an effect, if any?

    Thanks,
    Ty

    • I looked into it a bit further this afternoon, and light hitting the skin does, in fact, impact melatonin as David suggested. I am getting the full-text of a study that showed that transdermal light applied at the knee suppresses melatonin.

      • Thanks very much for looking into that more Chris – really interesting area!

        All credit to Robb W though – I just soak up the information from his podcasts (and yours!).

      • The study was likely flawed as it was never reproduced by anyone, ever.

        The original study: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/279/5349/396.abstract

        If the skin was that sensitive, the study should have been easily replicated. But, to this day, nobody has been able to do it.

        More likely the pulsing light behind the knee triggered another melatonin suppressor that had nothing to do with light. For instance, melatonin can be suppressed by sound (i.e. your alarm clock), but light just happens to be a stronger influence than your other senses. For all we know, the pulsing light had a slight static charge or infrared heat pulse that affected melatonin.

        And, besides, there is far more evidence out there to suggest that light on skin does NOT suppress melatonin:

        http://www.researchgate.net/publication/12234041_Bright_light_exposure_of_a_large_skin_area_does_not_affect_melatonin_or_bilirubin_levels_in_humans

            • Dan sent me a study suggesting that light stimulation on the skin is sufficient to suppress melatonin. I haven’t read the full-text yet, and maybe Dan can weigh in here, but I suspect the effect is considerably less than bright light on the retina.

              • Slightly confused – I assumed that Dan was only referencing studies which showed that melatonin production was not affected by light on the skin.

                Since you know Robb W well Chris – I wonder if you have time to ask him what it was that I have a fuzzy memory of him talking about?

                For what it’s worth, I agree that intuitively the retina is what mainly drives this. I’m just curious to know what the evidence is for the effect of light on skin.

                Thanks for taking the time!

                • That’s the Campbell and Murphy study I was referring to, that nobody has been able to reproduce. I believe they used a biliblanket under the knees and supposedly suppressed melatonin.

                  What I’m saying is that the Campbell and Murphy study is likely flawed since nobody else on the planet has been able to reproduce it.

                  If skin was that sensitive to melatonin, the results should have been easy to reproduce. No such luck however. It was a fluke.

                  My sense is that melatonin in the Campbell and Murphy study was suppressed by an exogenous factor — such as heat, sound, static charge, etc. and the researchers just wrongly assumed that it was the biliblanket.

                  And even if Campbell and Murphy discovered something (high doubtful, since it can’t be reproduced) the study is pretty useless for real world applications since nobody sleeps with a biliblanket under their kneecaps. 🙂

              • I was just thinking back to watching movies set in older times when wearing full pajamas at night was common. I wonder if this was the reason why. Is fabric covering the skin enough to block the light?

  7. I installed f.lux, but usually when I am working late, I’m handling color sensitive materials on the computer, so I usually just turn it off. The moral of this story is: don’t work on digital art late at night.

  8. I have f.lux on my computer, and while I’m sure it helps somewhat, even if I have the brightness turned all the way down I sleep poorly if I use my computer within an hour of bedtime. I have a pair of the UVEX glasses, and with those I can continue working on my computer with no ill effects on my sleep. The UVEX glasses are very good and quite cheap ($9).

    The effects of those glasses on melatonin suppression is remarkable– they completely block the effect.

    • I’ve noticed the same thing when I use the Solar Shield brand. I was up until 1 AM doing work the other night and fell asleep nearly immediately when I finally got to bed, thanks to the goggles. Normally I’d be tossing and turning and totally amped up from all the light exposure. (Now if I can just find a way to get all my work done at a more reasonable hour…)

    • Yeah, such a remarkably effective, cheap and non-invasive (if you don’t mind looking a little strange) tool!

      • I don’t mind looking strange, but I found those glasses completely unworkable. They made everything fuzzy and did not fit well over my glasses. I may try the more expensive brand.

    • The lense quality of those things has to be terribl for $9. Cheap sunglasses hurt my eyes and I think I’ve read have negative effects with long term use. Although I think that had something to do with tricking your eyes into letting too much light in…. anyways one more thing to worry about. Damaging vision by looking through cheap lenses for hours each day.

  9. Another option is changing the colour of your artificial lights. This is now possible (yet still costly) with new LED lighting. However, costs are dropping significantly every year.

    http://www.meethue.com/en-US

    disclaimer: I work for philips lighting, but not for the division that makes this product>

  10. I purchased some glasses about a month or so ago. I love them. I do wear them daily because while I have never had issues falling asleep (or even staying) my sleep can get pretty screwy if I’m not careful. I’m high strung – not like I used to be thanks to Primal. I put them on and I can feel my eyes relax – I take them and they start to “tighten” up again. And within an hour I’m feeling pretty sleepy.

  11. Chris, this is not about artificial light wrecking sleep but is about sleep wrecking no less. Maybe you could address it in an article at some point. As the parent of a 3 year old and a new baby, I wonder now more than ever…what are the long term effects of sleep deprivation for an entire year for each child on the parent? I am breastfeeding a year as I did with my first. Of course in the beginning the sleep is short and totally fragmented. As time goes on, however, even when the baby sleeps well, my body wakes me up in no uncertain terms, which will continue until weaning. Nobody can do anything to help me get a full night of sleep, and this time around I can’t even nap during the day since I have a toddler. It seems that sleep is such a necessity, yet parents, especially nursing mothers, are robbed of it relentlessly. I know, I know, the baby needs to be with the mother. I appreciate that, I really do. I just always wonder why, if, as adults, we need continuous sleep so badly (and boy do I ever!), is it taken away from us for literally years of our life? My mom always said mother nature got it wrong in that regard. In the meantime, I sure hope no negative studies of a single cup of coffee ever come to pass.

    • Katherine,
      Richard Hansler addresses this in his e book Great Sleep!Reduced Cancer! They sell a nursery kit on the website http://www.lowbluelights.com. The idea is that both the mother and the baby should not be exposed to blue light during the night. Melatonin suppression may even be playing a role in postpartum depression. I was surprised to read that babies do not produce their own melatonin but get it in the breast milk. Think of the implications of that! My babies are all grown up but I have been using the glasses and lightbulbs while training puppy and I believe it has helped me get back to sleep.

    • That is a really good question, Katherine. More lost sleep one of the primary things keeping me from wanting kid #2. DD is 4 now and I’m still recovering from the sleep deprivation; her first year put my body over the edge. If I had to do it all over again I would have quit night nursing much sooner (8 or 9 mos. vs. the 13 or 14 mos. we ended at). DD nursed for 3.5 years total which I’m happy for but the night nursing was bad for both of us in hindsight. It was disruptive to my sleep and hers as well.

      • We ended up cosleeping and my wife could nurse while still asleep or at least with much less disruption to everybody’s sleep. Seems more natural, too.

        • Yes, co-sleeping rocks! I’ve been nursing for more than four years now and I don’t feel sleep deprived at all. My second child was born 16 months ago and is still feeding at night. When there is an exceptional night where I have to get up to comfort him, I can really feel the difference! Nursing while half-asleep is definitely so much easier. For me, Attachment Parenting (co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding) is similar to Paleo in that it looks at our life from an evolutionary point of view. Here’s an interesting article one year ago about how it is to have several chunks of sleep at night inside of an uninterrupted 8-hour sleep: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

  12. Another option: LowBlueLights.com. I have several pair of their blue blocking glasses and light bulbs.

    • Yes, but not every night. If I notice that my sleep is starting to get funky, I’ll wear them. (Or if I have to use the computer after it gets dark for any significant length of time.)

      • I have amber sunglasses … maybe I’ll try wearing those tonight (around the house of course, not while driving!).

      • Great article, Chris!

        According to the book, “Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer!: A Scientific Approach to Great Sleep and Reduced Cancer Risk,” by Richard L. Hansler (http://amzn.com/1419690388), there is no need to put the glasses on right after sundown. The best way to use the glasses is to put them on 9 to 10 hours before you usually wake up. And do that consistently — without changing your wake/sleep times by more than a few minutes on any day. If you are getting 8 hours of sleep every night, then you only need to wear the glasses for an hour before bed.

        Furthermore, Hansler says the research on melatonin indicates that a consistent “rhythm” is key (that’s why they call it a “circadian rhythm”!) After all, humans evolved for millions of years with circadian rhythms that were unable to change by more than 5 minutes each day.

        So, the glasses are most effective when they are used in a routine each evening that the body can get used to. So, it really doesn’t make sense to use the glasses after sundown unless you were going to do it every single night. Far easier to just put the glasses on a hour or two before bedtime, and wake up at the same time each day.

        The book is a useful one to read as he explains how the glasses can be used to combat Jet Lag or late night shift work by putting them on at specific intervals to readjust the circadian rhythm. Highly recommend it for anyone interested in this.

      • At CNIB(Institute for the blind) one can get varying levels of amber sunglasses …is it dark amber glasses needed for cutting blue light from computer etc or light or medium shade> they also offer UV and glare shields and “IR” (whatever that is)…how do I chose?
        thanks

  13. I find f.lux helps a lot but I also use (on a PC):

    http://www.pangobright.com/

    Which turns down the overall brightness of the monitor – and lets you put it back up again to where you like it during the day (or when developing images on a calibrated monitor in my case) all with a couple of mouse clicks.

    • Hey, that app is awesome – thanks for the link! Took a little close reading to avoid all the ads, but it installed easily and it couldn’t be much simpler to use. My monitor isn’t easy to dim – this makes it much easier.

    • I installed it, and my very skin sighed with relief.
      But everytime I clicked on something, it flashed, which was even worse than the too-bright screen to begin with. I’m sure there’s a way to fix it, some setting I’ve got set poorly, but I’m not clever enough to figure it out and my googlefu is failing me. Have you heard of anything like that?

      • Sorry JMH – that is a small problem with Pangobright.

        To get techy: I’m guessing what the app does is to create a dark layer “on top” of everything else (at the front) which allows the clicks from the mouse through to other programs. When some other program displays something new, that new things is sent to the “top” (front) and so isn’t hidden by the dark layer. But then Pangobright immediately notices that something is in front of it and gets back “on top”.

        This is by way of saying that I doubt it’s changeable for Pangobright. It would need an entirely different program to achieve the dimming of the screen. I’d love to find one which would avoid that problem!

        For me it’s not a big issue since I tend to use it only last thing as I wind down for the evening.

        @Angel and Jeremy Nelms – glad it’s useful! 🙂

        • Yeah, I figured it’s arguing with some other program for control over the brightness and occasionally loses. I figure if I was a bit more of an educated sys-admin I could figure out what, and how to revoke its permissions, but alas I’m just tech smart enough to be frustrated. *grin* At least I know it’s not just me, then. Thanks though.

      • I also felt the same kind of relief! My screen doesn’t flash if I click on something. It hasn’t failed me, except when it just disappeared from my computer once for some reason. I love it.

    • However, it is not ideal because there still remains high blue in the emitted spectrum. One inexpensive solution is to use a cheap red plastic transparent clipboard– and pop it onto the screen.

    • High fat raw cheese and dates sounds good. f.lux is is AWESOME. I have it on my computer and my phone. It makes such a difference.

  14. Maybe this is a silly question but does light exposure to our skin suppress melatonin as well? Say you’re trying to avoid some type of artificial light at night so you wear an eye mask. Is the eye mask sufficient or would the skin need to be shielded as well?

    • Skin exposure to light can have a mild effect on melatonin production according to a study that was done at Boston University (I think).

      I usually wear a PVC catsuit while watching T.V. at night… it works really well. 😉

    • No, I don’t think artificial light is likely to *significantly* suppress melatonin via its effects on the skin. The orange goggles are sufficient.

    • Robb Wolf mentioned on a podcast that exposure to light has been shown to affect the circadian rhythms of profoundly blind people. The mechanism was something carried on the surface of red blood cells from what I recall. I think it might have been in this episode but sadly the link to the transcript is broken and I’ve not got time to listen to it to check:

      http://robbwolf.com/2011/01/04/the-paleo-solution-episode-61/

      Robb didn’t get into quite how much light it would take, though he advises sleeping in a pitch dark room – and from personal experience, and to my surprise, it works really well.

      I’n still waiting to try the Uvex glasses since Amazon’s courier lost my first order somewhere over the Atlantic! 😉

      • Blind people are still affected by light exposure because there are receptors in the eye that have nothing to do with vision, but are acted on by light to entrain circadian rhythms. I think it has more to do with this than with light hitting the skin, but I could be wrong.

        • Makes sense to me Chris. Though I’m sure there was some mention of someone without retinas still being affected by light. Just thought it was interesting to note but now that the PDF transcript has been fixed – it wasn’t that episode in which Robb mentioned it after all (to save anyone the trouble of looking or listening).

          But getting into the detail here of course. Ultimately sleeping in a pitch black room I find works really well – whatever the mechanism 🙂

          • I highly recommend the book ‘Lights Out! Sugar, Sleep and Survival’. I t really goes into the detail on the subject and I have learned a great deal from it. They actually site a study that indicates that light exposure on the skin does affect melatonin levels, but I am not sure to what extent. Really a great book for anyone interested in the topic of sleep.

      • David, maybe they will send your second pair by drones:) Enjoy your glasses when they finally arrive because I am going to get a pair for my whole family. Glad I came across this article!

    • Hi Kaitlyn, Excellent question! Turns out that only your eyes need to be in the dark in order for your body to produce melatonin. I have been following the research closely by Drs David Blask, George Brainard, Richard Stevens and others… and attended their lectures. Dr David Blask also clarified that you do NOT need to be asleep… just in the dark–pitch black, for a healthy body to produce melatonin. Although, Dr Brainard emphasized that dim red or dim amber night lights positioned close to the flock outlets would minimally affect the circadian, and would be a sensible solution for a late night, safe trip to the bathroom. They both emphasized that the circadian wants bright sunny blue sky days, and dark-dark nights.

    • I’m not so sure about exposing skin to light. Only our eyes have melanopsin. Some studies say you can suppress melatonin by using the skin but another could not repeat the effects. Perhaps some light slipped through the sides of the eye mask in the study. It doesn’t take much light to decrease melatonin levels. Personally, I find that eye masks fall off during sleep.

      A cheap way to black out your room is taping cardboard over your windows and taping black duct tape on the hinge side of your doors.

  15. The three things that I’ve found have worked best for my sleep are wearing amber-colored glasses as soon as the sun sets, a hot Epsom salt bath followed by an ice cold shower rinse and then I top it all off by eating a combo of high fat raw cheese and dates one hour before bedtime.

    Rip Van Winkle in da house!

    • I referenced your name in my post below. Looking up the catsuit gave me quite the belly as The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite shows and I like the Norman Cousins theory of laughter and illness.

  16. Great article–it should be noted that in order to install f.lux on your iPhone or iPad, you will need to jailbreak the device.

    I’ve had a good experience with the Uvex googles — they’re comfortable enough and you get used to the whole world being orange while you’re wearing them. In fact it gets to be kind of soothing.

    • 1. It is counterproductive if you use f.lux on your phone or computer when there are other lights on – (exception: dim amber or dim red light).
      2. f.lux helps, but does not eliminate the high blue spectrum emitted from computers, phones, or ipads.
      3. solution: use the blue-blocker glasses. I bought a pair for myself & my hubby from lowbluelights.com. I also like their amber night lights.
      4. another solution: avoid the computers at night. go to sleep earlier, and wake up earlier. Use a sleeping mask.
      5. Contact your mayor, alderman and lighting officials. Demand them to STOP the light trespass into your bedroom windows. Speak up at every opportunity. Streetlights that stay on target — the street&sidewalks–(and stay out of your bedroom windows and the night sky) save 1/3 the cost and energy… and are healthier for people and the environment.

      • I have f.lux on my PC and on my jailbroken iPhone. It has made a difference. I monitor my sleep with an iPhone app called Sleep Cycle.

        • ’ve noticed the same thing when I use the Solar Shield brand. I was up until 1 AM doing work the other night and fell asleep nearly immediately when I finally got to bed, thanks to the goggles. Normally I’d be tossing and turning and totally amped up from all the light exposure. (Now if I can just find a way to get all my work done at a more reasonable hour…)

    • I have always enjoyed Amber sunglasses and now reading I understand. My son was a baby in the hospital for 9 days and he was exposed to incubator lights and now he has trouble sleeping. So, I am glad that I came across this article!

      • 8 days is not bad – I work in a hospital and I can tell you that a lot of adults are babies for much longer.

      • Apparently there’s research showing that babies who were kept in the hospital for a while after birth, with all those bright lights, are more likely to develop sleep disorders in later life. I was put into an incubator under blue light to treat jaundice, which will have had a strong impact, and I grew up to have substantial circadian rhythm disorders. I’ve been using darkness therapy for about eight years now, otherwise I end up on a 25 hour day.

    • Um sorry guys but sometimes I can’t fall asleep unless I have the TV on… serious! Am I just lucky? Also I was thinking about every child in the world who can’t get to sleep right now unless you leave the light on… Lol what does this mean? xx

        • I am getting new glasses from my optometrist and decided to order them with BluTech Lenses. Normally I wear blue blocking glasses from lowbluelights.com or the blue blocker wrap around bifocals in the evening. I am hoping that these lenses will be as effective – they don’t have the yellow tint and look like normal glasses – so it makes them easier for me to wear in the evening when I am out or have company over. And their is no color distortion. Anyone have any idea if they would be as effective? Their website is http://blutechlenses.com/technology/

    • In your house you could use warm white lights instead of cool whites. Incandescent bulbs are also red end spectrum as well. Do the app and your set to watch TV on your tablet all night long with the lights on.

[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]