Posted on August 22, 2016 · Posted in Brain Injury

Many of us may struggle with lack of sleep due to use of our smartphones and tablets. These devices that are supposed to make life easier may be causing you to lose sleep. Light is perceived by the eyes in different wavelengths. These different wavelengths produce different color sensations.

smartphones used in bed

Smartphones in bed can keep us awake. They emit light which confuses our natural body clock. (Flickr / Creative Commons / m01229)

These same sensations help to tune your internal clock, or your circadian rhythms. One of the best biological cues we have is light, said sleep researcher Brian Zoltowski. Blue light is very predictive for figuring out when morning is.

The phones, tablets, and computers that help us stay updated and organized are what is putting out a ton of blue light. When you use your devices at night, when it’s dark, you’re essentially telling your body that it’s morning, and it’s time to wake up, which is false.

What you want to have at night is an abundance of red light, which signals to the body the day is ending. This kind of light is abundant towards dusk. It will help the body to realize it is evening and time to get ready for sleep.

The body gets that signal through melanopsin. It is a protein that undergoes a chemical change when exposed to light. This protein is found in intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. These cells are located behind the eyes. This is where you are able to collect light.

It signals the suprachiasmatic nucleus, where our master clock is located. It regulates circadian rhythms of the body. It tells your body when to wake up and when to go to sleep. There is still much to learn about sleep and how it happens, but if we do what our bodies naturally want, we will be much better off. This means eating at regular mealtimes and going to sleep when you’re tired.

If you go with your natural rhythms, you will get much more restful sleep. It may be worth it to consider shutting down your devices before you go to sleep and making the room as dark as possible before bed.


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447