Shwetha Bhatia

Go Easy On That Blue Light

November, 2017
The Master Responds

A casual peek into a typical family and you will find their faces lit up with a bluish glow. Parents fire off e-mails which were to go early on during the day, while their children indulge themselves in taking pictures and update their Snapchat stories. Even though gadgets may be switched off, the street lamps, television sets and household bulbs continue to shine throughout the night. And this mind you, emit a bright blue light much harsher than the regular incandescent bulbs. Today we discuss a topic which takes away from just aesthetic fitness and focuses more on how exposure to excess artificial light in the night can have a dangerous effect on health. Excessive exposure to this light not only causes sleeping problems, but is also linked to weight gain, depression, cancer, and heart disease.

Light and its works

When the rays of sun fall on the retina, the bran becomes more aware and awake. It soon gives the signal and the body begins to produce hunger hormones like cortisol and ghrelin. When the skies get dusky, the opposite happens. As the sun goes down, the body begins to transition to a “nighttime physiology,” during which a melatonin rise is observed. Body temperature drops, there is an onset of sleep and hunger goes away. Apart from just minimizing blue light at night, we should try to maximize the amount of bright light we get during the day. After getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep you must try to spend at least 3hours in darkness. Dim the lights and steer clear of bright blue screens. Invest in a bright light -- one that delivers 1,000 lux (a measure of light intensity) to put on your desk at work. Studies show that most office environments are too dim to stimulate the positive, alerting effects of light by day. One 2014 study by Northwestern University researchers found that people who got most of their bright light exposure before noon were about 1.4 pounds leaner on average than those exposed to most bright light in the evening.

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