New research out of the Netherlands has found wearing special glasses can filter out blue light, the equivalent of completely switching devices off. Blue light, typically emitted from handheld devices, can affect your sleeping cycle.
"Adolescents spend much time using blue-light emitting screen devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers," says Dr Dirk Jan Stenvers, from the department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Amsterdam UM.
"Blue light affects the central circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) as well as melatonin secretion by the pineal gland.
"Screen use in adolescents strongly associates with reduced sleep quality and sleep duration," continues Dr. Stenvers.
Recruiting 25 teenagers who use smartphones religiously, researchers analysed their sleep patterns following two different trial treatments.
In the first they stopped using devices 20 minutes before going to bed in the evening. The second group wore special glasses that filtered out blue light up until they fell asleep.
Interesting after just one week, the results found that wearing sunglasses saw the same sleeping patterns as switching off devices 20 minutes before bedtime. Both groups experienced a better night's sleep and were able to wake earlier.
"Adolescents increasingly spend more time on devices with screens and sleep complaints are frequent in this age group," adds Dr. Stenvers.
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"Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light.
"Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens.
"Sleep disturbances start with minor symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but in the long-term we know that sleep loss is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease," finishes Dr Stenvers.
"If we can introduce simple measures now to tackle this issue, we can avoid greater health problems in years to come."