Blue light emitted by technology is blamed as a top disrupter of healthy sleep habits. It has been well-accepted science that blue light coming from television, smartphone and tablet screens confuses circadian rhythms and can keep us awake long after we’ve gone dark for the night.
But researchers writing in the journal Current Biology say that may not be true. In fact, after experiments with mice, the scientist believe warmer, yellow light can trick our bodies into thinking it’s daytime, and this kind of light actually may cause more problems.
You see, the color of natural light changes throughout the day. The journal article explains that even when dark clouds block much of the sunlight, the light we do see has definite yellow undertones. Because of this, our bodies know instinctively that it’s daytime, even when the sun is mostly hidden. This is part of the reason why we don’t become sleepy and confused about time whenever there’s a big storm.
As day moves into twilight, natural light takes on a cooler, bluer hue. This is when our bodies know night is approaching.
So, the blue light common to technology may not be what’s keeping us up, after all. In fact, the researchers write that our body’s natural responses to light tend to be toned down by twilight-like blue light.
If you find it tough to sleep after binge reading the latest bestseller until midnight on your tablet, it may simply be that your screen is too bright, regardless of light color. Light intensity is a signal that can disrupt circadian rhythms.
Or, perhaps that novel is just such a thriller, it gets your imagination racing. If only you had more time to read during the day!