A possible culprit these days, according to a recent study, is the blue light coming from the screens we all love. Blue light keeps us alert and regulates our internal clock. We get it naturally from the sun, but the light coming from our TVs, computers, and smart phones is stimulating our brains long past sunset.
The good news is there’s a simple solution. Either cut out screen time at night or start wearing special glasses for a few hours before bedtime.
In the study, participants wore blue light-blocking glasses for three hours before bedtime while continuing to use screens as usual. At the end of two weeks, their melatonin levels were up 58 percent — a huge increase. The participants fell asleep faster and slept better and longer than they had before using the glasses.
Just search “blue light blocking glasses” online and you’ll find plenty of retailers selling the product at various price points. Your newer devices may have a blue light-blocking setting that you could use for a similar effect.
If your mental health is not where you’d like it to be, come see me. We’ll talk about sleep and other lifestyle changes you can make to start feeling better.
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.