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Why Can Blue Light on Phones Affect Your Mental Health?

Written by Shivani Sethuraman

Why Does the Blue Light from Your Phone Affect Your Sleep Cycle?

The blue light from your phone can cause many problems and one of them is affecting your sleep cycle. When you look at your phone right before going to sleep it can affect your sleep that night. Basically what happens is the blue light from your phone makes your brain think that it is day time and blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy. Since this hormone is blocked from your body it makes it difficult for you to sleep. Especially night time exposure to blue light can throw off your circadian rhythm, which is basically a sleep and wake cycle. Circadian rhythm plays a role in your brain that can affect your sleep schedule. When this affects your sleep schedule it can make you depressed since you don't have enough rest. It's best to not use any electronic devices after the sun goes down because if we do it slows down the release of melatonin which will make it a lot more difficult to sleep. Phones and computers which have a lot of blue light affect the circadian rhythm the most. Blue light is the strongest light which can affect the circadian rhythm.

What Do Professionals Say?

  • “There are probably many possible pathways between screen time and sleep, some of which are direct,” said lead author Mari Hysing of Uni Research Health in Bergen, Norway. “The light from the screens may directly affect our circadian rhythms, and teenagers may be especially sensitive.”

  • “This study by Hysing and colleagues was eye-opening because they showed that screen use above the recommended two hours per day was associated with sleep durations well below the norm, and in the range we see linked with poor school performance, emotional disturbances, and in some cases suicidal ideation,” Gradisar, who was not part of the new study, told Reuters Health by email.

  • “We can’t rule out the possibility that they use screens more because they can’t sleep, but certainly there is other evidence that screen time right before bed affects sleep,” Adam told Reuters Health by phone.

What Does Other Research Show?

90 percent of girls and 80 percent of boys reported using a phone right before bed and laptops were the most common among both genders. Girls reported they spend about 5 and a half hours on any device throughout the day including video games, cell phone, computer, tv, tablet etc. Boys reported an average of 7 hours throughout the day. So, more than 4 hours a day with devices or before bed makes it harder to sleep for teens. Not just looking at your phone or device before you go to sleep but also if you put it near where you sleep. If you put your phone next to your bedside it will make you disturbed during your sleep. Phones always pump electromagnetic radiation whenever they’re on. So, if you keep your phone next to you when you sleep, it can be harmful as well. Research is clear and it says “when teenagers have screens in their bedrooms, it interferes with their sleep. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that children ages 6 to 18 had an 88 percent higher risk of not sleeping enough when devices were in the bedroom and a 53 percent higher risk of getting a bad night