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Does a Study Change What We Know About Blue Light?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

blue light sleep disturbances

Story at-a-glance -

  • Evidence from a small study found that blue light helped mice sleep better — but before we change the way we think about blue light’s effect on humans, studies need to be done on humans, at least one researcher says
  • Blue light is linked to many well-documented health risks, including sleep problems
  • The use of blue light-emitting smartphones, computers, tablets and e-readers before bedtime is linked to sleep disturbances
  • Whether future research shows blue light disturbs sleep or not, it’s best to avoid it and let your natural circadian rhythm work

Artificial light is a relatively new development in terms of human evolution. Before we could create "day" out of night, humans woke up with the sun and went to bed when the sun set. Some studies suggest that before artificial light, humans experienced biphasic sleep; they slept in two shifts during the night, using their sleep break for prayer, reflection or reading by candlelight.

Artificial light permanently changed the way we live, in many ways for the better. But there has been a second change since the invention of artificial light that might be more consequential: the proliferation of electronic devices that create "blue light." To that end, 96 percent of Americans now own cellphones, mostly smartphones, and 75% own desktop or laptop computers. About 50% own tablets and e-readers.

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