How to curb as much light pollution as possible?

Sleeping tip

We are all guilty of it. As soon as we curl up in bed, many of us quickly reach for the iPad or smartphone to catch up on emails and social media. The problem is that all these screens contribute to what we call “light pollution” - excessive exposure to artificial light. Mainly our sleep suffers from this. But what can we do to curb it?

Negative blue light

Light is stimulating, especially the infamous blue light. Natural blue light wakes us up in the morning, helps us to distinguish between day and night, gives us energy and improves our mood. But artificial light in this blue spectrum contributes to light pollution. Think of LED lamps, computers, smartphones, and so on. The blue light from these devices is much stronger and contains more energy than natural light.

Disruption of the sleep-wake cycle

This excessive light and its abundant energy disrupts our sleep cycle before bedtime. The result? Our body produces less melatonin, causing us to fall asleep later and wake up more tired the next morning. Normally, melatonin levels rise in the late evening and remain high for most of the night. But if you use your iPad an hour before going to sleep, your melatonin production moves up by up to 3 hours!

Simple solutions

To avoid disrupting your biological clock further, you can add a few simple steps to your evening routine:

  • Make sure there are no standby lights in your bedroom. Even if it doesn't shine directly into your eyes, a standby light spreads a subtle glow that subconsciously can be disruptive.
  • Keep out external artificial light effectively with blackout curtains.
  • In the evening, start gradually reducing the light in your home to prepare yourself for a peaceful night.
  • The effect of screens on the melatonin production depends on three factors: the distance of the screen from your eyes, the brightness of the light and its colour tone. Therefore, it's a good idea to stay away from your computer, smartphone or tablet an hour before bedtime. If that's not possible, lower the screen’s brightness and keep it as far away from you as possible.

These small changes to your evening routine can minimise the harmful effects of light pollution on your sleep, so you wake up refreshed and rested. Because let’s face it, who doesn't want to start the day full of energy?

Image by teksomolika on Freepik.