What Blue Light Is Doing to Your Brain and Body

It’s much worse than you think.

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According to behavioral experts, it may finally be time to take a long, hard look at your various screen addictions. So prepare to sit down your iPad, your side-table Echo, and your cute, minimalistic iPhone for a major talk. 

Recent studies from Harvard and Columbia suggest that the blue light coming from our smartphones and computer screens emit so much more blue light than anyone expected that our brains really do become flustered, mimicking the effects of the omnipresent sun. These powerful feedback systems, they say, cause our brains to go off the rails, sending our nerves system in a tailspin of stimuli and erratic responses. That is not only not good but possibly seriously life-affecting. 

Now, it’s important to note blue light makes sense scientifically for the gadgets. It helps cut through the sun’s red and green lights so you can better experience the websites and apps you need to work on and to communicate with loved ones. But you need to know about the problems they can cause. 

Below we list the ways why you should consider putting down devices, even if it’s for an hour before bed.

Your begin to forget things easily
Photo:Antoine Da cunha/Unsplash

Excessive exposure to blue light has been linked to cognitive impairments, including a significant decrease in one’s ability to remember certain facts, figures, and number-based subjects. Not only that, blue light exposure has been shown to reduce the size of the hippocampus — the part of the human brain associated with emotional stability and intelligence — by notable percentages.

Your bone density can suffer

Blue light, because it throws off any natural circadian sleep pattern, has the ability to slow calcium and vitamin D bioavailability. And sleep, after all, is now known by science to be crucial to overall bone health.

Your eyes can develop cataracts
Photo: Marina Vitale/Unsplash

Blue light has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of developing premature cataracts as early as one’s mid-30s. Scientist believe that the development of these cataracts is a response to damaged cells around the iris, broken down by excess light; blue light, too, tends to be more cellular corrosive than, say, green or red light.

You begin to feel more anxious

Photo: Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

Because your brain believes the sun is, theoretically, still present when you’re looking glazing over your smartphone, that light exposure before bedtime can cut into your brains’ “recovery time.” Which, thus, panics your limbic system—the more primitive, “reptilian” part of our brain responsible for our fight-or-flight responses— into thinking you need rest above anything else, creating a cascading waterfall of anxiety, should you have a lofty to-do list before any chance of a sound nap can possibly happen.

Your skin begins to dull

Photo:Cristian Newman/Unsplash

Melatonin production has been observed to slow in people who work in long-hour IT jobs. This apparently hampers these people’s ability to produce the needed amount of melatonin to illicit healthy sleeping pattern. This lack of melanin, too, can lead to a buildup of neurotoxins in the body, causing actual degeneration of brain matter and, yes, you’re otherwise glowing complexion too. (Deep REM sleep is crucial to “washing the brain and body” of all built up toxins.)

Your hormones go completely bonkers
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Again, because deep REM sleep is something of an albatross to those who perpetually use their phones, tablets, laptops, what have you before bed, those who suffer from said screen addiction can ebb and flow in hormonal makeups. This inconsistent levels of estrogen, serotonin, cortisol, and more, are all associated with lackluster sleeping patterns.

But there are key ideas we can take away from this issue for better health. According to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, people need to step away from all screens about an hour before you go to bed. Trust us: you’re brain and body will thank you for it.

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