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Why Do I Feel So Tired All The Time?

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It’s estimated we spend around a third of our life in slumberland.

Incredibly, just one bad night’s kip really can wreak havoc on daily life, impacting us socially, at work and affecting performance. Although the idea that lack of sleep causes a myriad of physiological problems has already been explored many times, a recent survey revealed there are still as many as 68 percent of Americans struggling to get the physical therapy recommended seven to nine hours of adequate, restful sleep.

Sleep has been singled out to be one of the most effective things you can do to reset your brain and your body. It’s an important battery recharging process and therefore essential to bodily functions and survival.

So why aren’t we doing more of it?

The source of the problem

A combination of factors can affect sleep – the kind that leaves you feeling refreshed, recharged and capable of tackling the day free from brain fog. These factors include things like the types of foods consumed in the hours prior to hitting the deck and room temperature – even the material of your bedding is a component.

But tinkering with thermostats and shopping for the best bed threads simply isn’t enough. One of the major reasons why so many of us go without the requisite amount of sleep is quite literally staring us in the face. It’s something we frequently overlook: the harmful blue light emitting from our computers and mobile devices.

As well as headaches, long-term damage to our eyes, and digital eye strain also known as Computer Vision Syndrome, the effects of blue light have contributed to the rise in disturbed sleep and sleep disorders. This is partly due to how often we use our digital devices, but more so due to the blue light they emit – a cause for concern among health professionals. The majority of us are using devices – phones, tablets and laptops – for many hours a day, and we’re absorbing blue light regularly. If we consider the light prism, high-energy blue light sits next to damaging ultraviolet light on the spectrum. We know ultraviolet (UV) light can be damaging, but blue light can be just as harmful – particularly when one is exposed for a long period of time.

It’s thought that children are most at risk from the effects of blue light. Paul Rudolph, CEO of PupilBox says: “Our children are now required to use digital devices in school. Exposing them to high-energy blue light so frequently it’s like sending them outside all day in the sun without sunscreen. They need protection.”

How blue light affects sleep

According to studies conducted by researchers from Harvard and the University of Toronto, blue light suppresses the production of melatonin – a sleep hormone produced by the body – more than any other type of light.

The shorter wavelengths in blue light are what causes the body to produce less melatonin as the body is more sensitive to this type of light. Melatonin produced by the pineal gland in the brain, occurs in the absence of light and helps control your sleep-wake cycles as well as reducing wakefulness. Your body’s internal clock, the circadian rhythm, plus the amount of light you’re exposed to each day both influence how much melatonin the pineal gland makes. Although, to some extent, our body will attempt to retain the circadian rhythm, the pineal gland will cease melatonin production after even one second exposure to blue light wavelengths. Because blue light exists naturally during daylight hours, we process and interpret any blue light as daytime keeping us awake.

A need for sleep solutions

The negative effects of sleep deprivation – or at least suboptimal sleep – go way beyond a bad day at the office. Extreme fatigue has been shown to reduce cognitive and emotional functioning, leading to worse productivity, decision-making, communication, and even affecting levels of empathy towards others. Emotionally, the sleep-deprived display counterproductive behaviors at work have increased feelings of tiredness, irritability, mood changes, and exhibit risk-taking behaviors.

After several sleepless nights, you may start to feel down, you may even fall asleep during the day, risking injury or an accident. But if sleepless nights are more frequent than sleep itself, your overall health can suffer and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

You can solve your sleep predicament tonight, try some of the following to help you drift off more easily and into a deep and restful sleep;

  • Avoid looking at devices two hours before bed
  • Use dim red lights for night lights
  • Changing our nightly habits and practice meditation and stillness
  • If you work a night shift, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses
  • Consider installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night
  • Expose yourself to lots of daylight during the day, which will help your sleep efforts at night
  • If using a device is necessary, switch it to Night Shift mode or the equivalent

PupilBox is a company leading the way when it comes to providing solutions to the blue light problem. They have put together a nifty box full of some most effective products – from protective eyewear with blue light filter coating, to specialized light bulbs. Products that help promote the health and safety of our eyes and body and importantly, inspire sleep.

The fact that the company are providing tangible solutions is certainly encouraging, given the scope of the problem and the impact blue light can have on our health.

Try to implement some of suggested changes, looking out for an improvement in both the quality of your sleep, as well as energy levels throughout the day. Limiting the amount of blue light you’re exposed to at night will go a long way in helping fix your sleep problems.

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