If you like to watch tv in your bunk in the evening, or surf the Web on a laptop or tablet as you nod off, there’s a good chance you’re throwing off your biological clock—but some silly sunglasses could be the answer to a good night’s sleep, researchers say.
Here’s the catch: The blue light emitted by LED screens is a signal to the human brain to rise and shine, but wearing orange-tinted sunglasses that block blue light may prevent the high-tech disruption in the wake/sleep cycle, according to a recent study.
It’s all about the circadian rhythm and the sleep hormone melatonin. Also available in a pill for the restless, the hormone should naturally build in the evening and help call in the sandman. But flat screen gadgets emit a morning-like light to the brain, a signal to wake up and get moving.
The researchers put a group of teenage boys to the test: Some played their video games (or watched whatever they watch before going to sleep) with clear, placebo sunglasses, while others wore the totally uncool orange sunglasses.
The details of the data collection are kind of creepy, but the bottom line is that kids wearing the blue-blocking lenses felt “significantly more sleepy” than the control group.
Sleep experts say the results make sense and, apparently, in the absence the right kind of orange shades, there are even apps to filter the blue light emitted from screens.
On the other hand, you could always just put away the games and movies after dinner, take a walk, and go old school: Read a book, or your favorite trucking mag, with some soothing sounds in the background.
Or you could just let some dubious music videos from the 80s do the trick. Who remembers Cory Hart?