Blue Light May Not Be Keeping You Awake

We’ve all heard that the blue light from our smartphones and tablets could affect our circadian rhythm. Health professionals warn us about eye damage and worse. Screen filters and blue light dimmers are available to reduce our exposure to this short wavelength light (SWL), but is that enough? Well, it seems like no one really knows.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) says there is no consensus among health officials about whether SWL interrupts our sleep rhythms and whether that lack of sleep is associated with other adverse health issues.

The organization’s panel says that “the evidence from experimental studies is inconsistent, with many studies indicating possible effects of SWL on alertness or sleep, and many others not supporting such effects.”

They indicate that the conflicting results could be due to differences in light intensity, wavelengths, duration, and timing of exposure to SWL, as well as differences in outcome variables and effects of moderating variables (like prior light exposure or the age and sex of study participants) may have lead to the conflicting results.

Additionally, most studies examining circadian disruption due to light exposure used shift workers: “In these studies, shift workers’ exposure to light during biological night has been taken for granted without direct measurements of their light exposure.”

The panel has called for analysis of data gaps to help determine what types of studies, along with their parameters and methodologies, so scientists can finally make a determination.

Maybe it’s the doom scrolling… ?

The organization published its statement in Health Physics.

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