A quick summary:
It’s probably no surprise that sleep and mental health are extremely related topics. If you’ve ever had a couple of sleepless nights, you’ve definitely felt how the affects on your mood and energy levels.
It's well known getting a good night's sleep can help protect your mental, physical health, and your quality of life. It's even more important for children and teens, who rely on quality sleep to support their growth and development. But what many don't realise is the 'wind down' at the end of the day is an important part of your sleep ritual. Hours spent scrolling through Instagram or getting stuck into the latest Netflix drama don't count!
Whilst asleep, your brain unconsciously reflects upon the day’s experiences and files them away in your long-term memory. This is crucial for recalling information you may have taken in during the working day or at school. Sleep is a restorative and vital part of our lives. When it’s disturbed, it can lead to a series of negative effects like irritability, loss of motivation and energy levels. It can also increase sensitivity and difficulty processing information or coping with emotions.
As you can probably tell, all of the above resemble symptoms of depression. And while there are a lot of different causes for depression, bad quality of sleep and sleep deprivation caused by too much blue light from digital devices is one of them.
Blue Light = ‘Blue’ Moods
Every May in the UK we commemorate the Mental Health Awareness Week. According to Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. One of the most common types of mental health issues is called "clinical depression". This is a mood disorder that causes you to feel exhausted and hopeless for long periods of time. Those feelings can affect your daily life.More signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
While there are a lot of causes of depression, no one can deny that sleep disorders are a major contributor. There are many ways to help you with sleep disorders but by minimising your exposure to electronics that mimic daylight (smartphones, laptops, TV’s, tablets, etc.) is key.This will seem frustrating for many who like to relax before sleep by scrolling through social media or watching a movie.
But this is not only hurting your eyes but also distracts your ability to fall asleep faster. This is because blue light messes up our melatonin levels - a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Therefore blocking harmful blue light, especially in the hours before sleep, should be your top priority if you want to improve your sleep quality.
Tired of Feeling Blue?
Our days now revolve around constant use of digital devices and we don’t give enough time for our brain, eyes to rest. Our mental health is taking a hit. If you are wondering what you can do to improve your emotional health and your sleep, these are the top 3 habits you should be introducing in your life:
1. BLOCKING HARMFUL BLUE LIGHT SHOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITY
The best practice is to have no screen time/daylight mimicking as the sun sets. What that means in practice is that you shouldn't use any electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. If you must use digital devices before bed, using anti-blue light screen protectors will block 90% of all harmful blue light.
2. EXERCISE AND EAT HEALTHILY
Exercise is a very important for maintaining our health overall, but it also helps us sleep much better at night.If you don’t normally exercise, adding a quick walk to your daily routine can help you fall asleep much more rapidly. Just make sure to schedule your workouts towards the beginning of the day. If you exercise right before bed, the endorphins will actually make it more difficult for you to sleep. If you're someone who struggles to get any time to exercise, try to think about it as a fun activity rather than a chore - even a quick 5-minute morning stretch will activate your nervous system and add many benefits to your day!
3. TRY STICKING TO A SCHEDULE AND TURNING IT INTO A DAILY ROUTINE
One of the biggest things that interferes with our ability to fall asleep is varying the times when we go to bed and wake up. For example, many of us sleep in on weekends or go to bed a few hours early if we have had an extremely tiring day. While this is unavoidable sometimes, try to stick to a consistent schedule when it comes to your sleep. This may mean waking up earlier on weekends, but after a few weeks of this, you will find yourself sleeping more soundly.
Ocushield, have researched and developed an effective blue light filter that can be added to the screen of a computer or phone. It's about time to give your eyes — and your body — a well-deserved rest. Ocushield filters are the first and only Class 1 medically-rated screen protectors in the world. Explore the range on Heka here.