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Pathology Atlas

Mar 3

Is Your Cell Phone Destroying Your Health?

In 2017, we as a modern society often neglect an absolutely crucial part of our health: sleep. Sleep cannot be underestimated in its importance. It has been scientifically proven that poor sleep raises our risk for heart disease, cancer, depression, dementia, weight gain, and a host of other diseases.

Here’s the problem: In addition to not logging enough ZZZ’s (we are really recommended to get 8+ hours of sleep a night, something a majority of the first world does not accomplish), we are experiencing poorer and poorer sleep quality. Why is this? Our bodies have only been exposed to artificial lighting for less than 150 years. The human brain is still primed to execute the circadian rhythm based on natural cues. The circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle, releases melatonin and other hormones at “scheduled” times throughout the day in order to facilitate sleep. The issue is that melatonin is produced in the absence of high energy Blue Light, produced by the sun. No Blue Light means nighttime to the brain.

Why does that matter? Blue Light is produced in abundance by our digital devices. Everything from your cell phone to your televisions and even the artificial LED lights in our homes produce Blue Light which tricks the brain into thinking it is day time, ceasing melatonin production. Then, when we lay down for sleep, the brain is not prepared for rest and sleep quality is greatly reduced. As previously discussed, the implications of poor sleep are dramatic.

So what can we do?

  • Limit digital device use before bed: simply making the practice of shutting down your phones, tablets, and TVs about an hour before bed can greatly assist with melatonin production, provided the lighting in your home isn’t too high energy (different bulbs emit different ranges of light).
  • Use Blue Light filtering glasses optimized for sleep. They allow you to go about your normal activities while winding down for sleep.
  • Simulate a sunset environment by using low-blue light bulbs in your bedroom and bathrooms while getting ready for bed.

Taking these steps to negate the damage done by the unnatural high levels of Blue Light in our digitally addicted age will help your sleep and thus improve your overall health.

 

 

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