Our circadian biology regulates our sleep and wake times over the 24-hour solar cycle, with sunrise and sunset being the dominant triggers. There have been a number of studies showing that exposure to artificial light in the evening can disrupt our circadian rhythms (1) (2) . The harsh blue light emitted from smartphones, TV’s and other electronic devices is particularly problematic because it contains a short-wavelength which has the ability to suppress melatonin secretion, making it more difficult to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
Backlit LED screens or fluorescent lighting in the home can make it difficult to wind down and this has an impact on the quality of your sleep, particularly during the first few hours which are critical to adrenal function and overall recovery.
Evening use of amber lighting, which mimics candlelight or sitting around the campfire has a positive effect on the release of melatonin in the pineal gland and is a better match for our natural sleep cycle(3). Armed with the knowledge that red or orange light is preferable in the evening, here are five ways you can improve your sleep using amber tones.
- Switch off devices a couple of hours before bed. Introducing a relaxing and tech-free evening routine is one of the best ways to reduce blue light, improve sleep hygiene and get a restful sleep.
- Shift to amber lighting at home. As an alternative to candles there are a range of amber toned bulbs available that will help to reduce the harsh blue and white light in your home. We recommend avoiding LED lights altogether as these generally contain blue light regardless of the bulb tone (4). As well as adjusting your living space, the bedroom and bathroom may need softer lighting too - brushing your teeth immediately before bed in the harsh bathroom lighting can over-stimulate the senses and brain.
- Adjust the lighting on your phone. Enable ‘Night Shift’ or an equivalent app such as Twilight or f.lux. These apps change the lighting on your phone after sunset by using the geolocation and internal clock of the phone.
- Wear amber lensed glasses in the evening. Amber lensed glasses can be worn while working, watching TV or using other electronic devices prior to bedtime. We recommend Uvex Eyewear which are a cost effective way of blocking blue light during your wind down time.
- Attach a screen protector to your mobile phone or tablet. Zen Tech™ screen protectors can be attached to your phone or tablet, reducing blue and UV light while retaining high quality imaging on your screen.
We offer a bespoke sleep coaching service if you need further support in this important area of your health. If you are interested in exploring your personal sleep challenges including testing melatonin and cortisol levels then please get in touch on our contact page for more information.