Picture of Phill Mackie

Phill Mackie

Banish the blues for a good night’s sleep

Finding it hard to sleep at night? Restless in bed then having trouble waking up the next day?

If your smart phone or your laptop is your night-time companion, then chances are it's impacting on your sleep.

Numerous studies show that electronic (or other artificial) light, and in particular the blue light emitted by such devices, affects the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, the levels of which usually rise as the sun’s rays diminish, inducing sound sleep.

Devices such as your phone or tablet when used in the evening, it has been proven, diminish the production of melatonin, keeping us awake and alert long after bed time. And there are indications that this disruption to sleep may also be linked to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity.

What to do about it?

Well, you can always switch off.

But if the idea of whittling or playing the tin whistle or a having a game of Patience by moonlight doesn’t appeal, then there are alternatives.

You may already be aware of f.lux, software that makes your computer display adapt to the time of day. For example, less blue hues in the evening. Many have been using this software (or others like it) for years. And Apple has announced that its next version of iOS will have a “night shift” mode, reducing the jarring visual impact of using your phone or computer at night.

Other suggestions we have come across that are said to help improve your sleep (some more effective than others):

  • Wear safety glasses with a red or orange tint in the evening as this will filter out the blue light
  • Switch off flouros and energy saving lights at night, and use orange or red light bulbs instead
  • Get plenty of sunlight during the day
  • Use a screen protector on your devices or turn down the brightness in the evenings
  • Turn off your devices and lights well before bed time (1-3 hours)
  • Use candles (safely).

At the end of the day, your sleep is in your hands. We wish you well in your travel to the land of zzzzzzzzzs.