The inconvenient truth about your computer.

What's more important than fitness & nutrition for living an awesome life?

 

(If you guessed 'a great hairdo', you'd be close. But fabulous follicles aren't exactly what I had in mind).

 

It's sleep.

 

From 10pm to 6am (or 7, if you're lucky).

 

Every night. On the regular. Snoozin' like royalty, waking rested & ready for action.

 

Not only does sleep 'defrag' your brain, it also facilitates healing, repair, hormonal and blood sugar balance. And the most incredible thing of all? Your body is governed, down to the last cell, by cycles of light & dark (more on this later).

 

We can all agree that good health begins and ends with shuteye.

 

But there's something posing a threat to this fundamental tenet of wellness (and it's not just the latest season of Game of Thrones).

 

 

 

It's your computer, your iPhone, and any other electronic device that emits blue light. (So, kinda Game of Thrones).

 

You might have heard the recommendation to switch off your screens after sundown, because *blah blah blah something about insomnia blah*. (That's where you stopped listening, because Facebook still exists after dark! And besides, you've got work to do).

 

But I urge you to heed the facts. It could be killing your sleep - and health in the process.

 

What you need to know about blue light:

 

1. All electronic devices emit 'blue light'.

 

2. Blue light sends 'awake!' signals to your brain (the pineal gland), promoting the release of energizing, daytime hormones (adrenalin & cortisol) and the suppression of drowsy, nighttime ones (melatonin).

 

2. Natural blue light is present in the morning hours, turning to orange-y light in the afternoon & evening. This is KEY information for your body, as our circadian clock governs the activity of each cell, down to our last strand of DNA.

 

3. Artificial blue light stimulates our brains (and in turn, cells) incorrectly, at times we should be winding down to sleep.

 

4. It actively destroys the precursor to Melatonin (our sleep hormone) and either stops us falling asleep, or changes our brain activity overnight.

 

5. Artificial blue light induces stress in the body. Coupled with EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies from electronic devices), it has been linked to a leaky blood brain barrier (which can be the start of inflammation & neurological disease).

 

6. Artificial blue light destroys DHA which is a major structural component of the eye.

 

Now you've heard the bad news, here's what to do about it!

 

* Committ to avoiding screens after sundown. That means laptops shut, phones tethered to their chargers on flight mode & TVs off. Candles, baths, reading & conversation rule the twilight hours.

 

* If you really, truly can't:

 

- Get yourself a pair of these fetching blue-light-blocking goggles. Your spouse/kids/guests/dog will point & laugh, but you'll be too deliciously drowsy to care!

 

- Install F.lux on your devices (which syncs to your timezone and changes the screen from blue to orange as the sun sets)

 

* DO NOT EVER SO MUCH AS THINK about checking your phone in the middle of the night. (Sorry for the yelling - that was my no-nonsense commando voice. Did it work?!)

 

How to reset your circadian rhythms naturally

 

- Get outside within 30 minutes of waking and expose your eyes to morning sun. Aim for 1-3 minutes - this is like friendly neighbour waving GOOD MORRRRRNING! It set's your internal clock straight.

 

- Avoid blue light after sundown with above strategies.

 

- Keep a consistent bedtime - 10 or 11pm is best.

 

Now that I've made you feeling guilty for hiding under the covers and refreshing Instagram at 3am, all that's left to do is switch off my computer, whip off the futuristic blue-blocking goggles and get the best, most melatonin-rich sleep ever. You should too!

 

Over to you. Do you have trouble sleeping? Have you ever taken screen-avoidance seriously? What are your tricks for escaping the allure of iGadgets?



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