Recently Apple launched their latest iOS update which includes a new ‘Night Shift’ feature designed to promote good sleep hygiene. Like other apps which block the blue wavelength from your screen, Night Shift change the lighting on your phone to warmer colours after sunset by using the geolocation and internal clock of the phone. The harsh blue light emitted from smart phones, TV’s and other electronic devices contains a short-wavelength and has been shown in studies to suppress melatonin secretion, making it more difficult to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
Our circadian biology regulates our wakefulness and sleepiness over the 24-hour solar cycle, with sunrise and sunset being the dominant triggers. There have been a number of studies showing that exposure to artificial light in the evening disrupts our circadian rhythms. The direction of artificial blue light on your eyes and skin can also play a part in triggering hormones and neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin and melatonin. Backlit LED screens or fluorescent lighting in the home can make it difficult to wind down and has an impact on the quality of your sleep, particularly during the first few sleep hours which are critical to adrenal function and overall recovery.
Evening use of amber lighting, which mimics candlelight or sitting around the campfire has a positive effect on the release of melatonin in the pineal gland and is a better match for our natural sleep cycle. Armed with the knowledge that downward-directed red or orange light is preferable in the evening, here are 6 ways you can improve your sleep using amber tones.
- Switch off devices a couple of hours before bed. Introducing a relaxing and tech-free evening routine is one of the best ways to reduce blue light, improve sleep hygiene and get a restful sleep.
- Get Apple’s ‘Night Shift’ or an equivalent app such as Twilight or f.lux. The Nightshift feature on iPhone iOS 9.3 should be available in the coming weeks, there are also a range of apps including ‘Twilight’ and ‘f.lux’ available on Android and Windows.
- Wear amber lensed glasses after sunset. Amber lensed glasses can be worn while watching TV or using other electronic devices prior to bedtime. We recommend Uvex Eyewear which are a cost effective way of blocking blue light during your wind down time.
- Shift to amber lighting in your bathroom (and bedroom..!). Brushing your teeth immediately before bed in the harsh bathroom lighting can over-stimulate the senses and brain. This is one time when changing a lightbulb can be life changing! There is a range of amber toned bulbs available that will help to reduce the harsh blue and white lights.
- Attach a screen protector to your mobile phone or tablet. Zen Tech™ screen protectors come in a range of sizes and can be attached to your phone or tablet, reducing blue and UV light while retaining high quality imaging on your screen. Check out our range here to see if we have the right screen protector for your device.
- Ario lighting is soon to launch a health-focused smart lamp, which automatically changes light direction and colour throughout the day to support your body clock and can be adapted to suit your schedule. We have been working with Ario, and are pleased to be able to offer you 10% off the pre-order price of $299 using coupon code FSARIO10. (The full retail price will be $399). The Ario was recently selected as #4 best Kickstarter campaigns of 2015! Click here to find out more
If you would you like to know more about lighting, we recommend listening to the following interview on about the importance of light on our bodies:
Bulletproof Radio – Photobiology, Light Medicine and Vitamin D
You may also wish to review the work of Neurosurgeon, Jack Kruse who’s view that artificial blue light is killing us.