Feeling Groggy and Tired, Stop Doing This (Sleep Series Part 2)
Sleep. Most everyone would love to get more sleep. Learning to get the most out of whatever sleep you do get can make a huge difference in your life and health.
About 6 months ago, I went to bed relaxed and fell asleep really fast that night. Then I woke up at 2am and had a hard time going back to sleep.
I knew it was 2am because my face was bathed in the blue light of the screen as I checked the time on my phone.
Why was I having such a hard time going back to sleep at 2am?
Before bed I had finished up some computer work and then read a book on the iPad.
So I got up and grabbed some water from the kitchen. I didn’t need to turn on any lights because the blue glow from the LEDs on the fridge and the stove clocks lit up the whole room enough to see.
I hit the bathroom and back to bed.
2 hours later I finally fell asleep only to have to get up at 6am on just 5 hours of sleep. I wasn’t feeling very rested.
It turns out that the blue light from the iPad, the cell phone, and even the LEDs in my kitchen almost certainly affected my sleep.
Have you ever gotten up at night to grab a drink from the frige? It’s like a blast of super bright light that shocks your system into thinking the sun is coming up:
The bright lights we expose ourselves to at night do affect our sleep. Check out that ridiculously bright blue-white LED mini sun in my frige:
Seriously, has no one ever told the appliance companies that it’s OK to use a more human friendly light inside the refrigerator? That super bright LED light will absolutely turn off your melatonin production and make it harder for you to sleep.
If you want to perform better at work, or just in LIFE, then you have to get adequate sleep. Just laying down and going to sleep for 8 hours is not always enough. We need the hormone melatonin to turn on in order to reap the benefits of sleep.
Using devices at night is able to turn off the production of melatonin while still allowing us to fall asleep as presented in research by Dr. Mariana Figueiro, Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the March 2016 National Toxicology Program Light at Night seminar .
Meet Melatonin – your sleep hormone
In order to get high quality sleep and function optimally the next day, we need the hormone melatonin  to kick in at night and help our body sleep, detox and repair.
Without melatonin, or with delayed onset of melatonin production, we are not able to use sleep to recover very well.
Melatonin also turns out to be one of the most potent anti-cancer hormones in our whole body , and it doesn’t take a prescription to buy it. While melatonin naturally kicks in after dark, we can add extra melatonin if needed, by buying over the counter melatonin supplements.
As a sleep aid, some people pop melatonin supplements before bed. This works very well for most people who need help getting to sleep, but should not be relied upon as a long term solution, nor should be taken in excess as it could cause natural production of melatonin to decrease or shut down.
If you choose to supplement melatonin, work with your doctor and/or research the proper dose for you. I have heard that cycling on and off melatonin is ideal to ensure your body doesn’t stop it’s own melatonin production. The dose most people refer to is somewhere between 0.3mg and 3mg of melatonin at night before bed. I have heard of people taking up to 12mg, and also having amazing technicolor and vivid dreams, but I wouldn’t recommend that, unless you have worked with a medical professional to dial in that high of a dose.
I choose to keep melatonin on hand in supplement form when I travel and need to sleep and can’t or at home when I just can’t get to sleep. Usually I use it a few times a year. The rest of the time I follow proper sleep hygiene to allow melatonin production to naturally occur. I keep the 3mg size on hand. I actually wish I had bought the 1mg size so I could dial in a smaller dose at times.
Blue Light is Bad (at night)
Exposure to blue wavelength light at night can shut down your melatonin production. 
Exposure to blue light at night tricks your body into thinking it’s morning. Remember, we evolved with moonlight, candles, and fire at night. Not computers, iPads and cell phone screens. Not even fluorescent and LED light bulbs.
Blue light can be given off by your computer, TV, phone, light bulbs, and various LEDs scattered around your house, apartment and hotel room. I even have a green LED (green still puts out blue wavelength light) in the smoke detector in my bedroom.
If we want high quality, restful sleep, we have to kill the sources of blue light at night.
In the morning, blue light is just fine. It’s naturally occurring from the sun and we get plenty when we’re outdoors. We want the blue light in the daytime.
So how do we get rid of blue light sources at night, especially when we can’t all be off all our screens 2 hours before bed?
Check out this video for the way I do check those blue light sources from the screens I use:
How to Reduce Blue Light Exposure from You Tech:
- Get off all screens and technologies within 2 hours before bed. (I know, I just said most of us won’t be able to do this and this seems extreme). Try going for a walk, reading a real book, or having a conversation with your friend or partner. Maybe take a sauna or do some meditation. You might even try writing in an actual notebook, with an actual pen. Or drawing. Go for it!
- Install F.lux on your laptop. This changes the screen color to use less blue light at night and is automatic, you just set your time zone and it does the rest, automatically brightening and bluing your screen during the day and dimming and cutting blue at night.
- Install Twilight on your phone (does the same thing as F.lux).
- Add a Zentec screen filter from Bulletproof to your phone and tablet to filter out the more harmful wavelengths of blue light.
- Get some black electrical tape and tape over all the LEDs in your bedroom and hotel room (when traveling).
- The ultimate solution for most of us is to grab an inexpensive pair of blue blocking safety glasses off Amazon. Or an expensive rock star pair. Since you likely can’t get away from all blue light at night and probably don’t light with candles at night, these blue blocking glasses will allow you to use screens and indoor lighting with abandon.
Now, when I wake up at 2am, I can still look at my phone to see what time it is, but the blue light coming from it is greatly diminished thanks to Twilight. Enough so that it should not affect my melatonin production.
Also, I’m extreme, so I actually keep my blue blocking glasses on my night stand next to my phone. I put on the glasses and then look at the time on the phone, yes, even at 2am I put on the glasses and then look at the phone. And I keep the phone placed down onto it’s face so it gives off no light until I pick it up. And do I even need to mention it’s on airplane mode and ALL notifications are turned off? !!
I also wear my fancy sunglasses if I have to get up during the night, whether I’m going to the bathroom or checking on the kids. I find that this totally helps me get back to sleep faster.
Whatever you do, do something. Sleep is too important. Find a way to reduce or eliminate your exposure to blue light from screens and feel the difference!
Turn of your router at night too!!
Part 7- Hack Your Sleep With Sleep Tracking