You probably aren’t aware of it, but our smartphones and tablet screens emit a bright blue light continuously even during the brightest time of the day. This light mimics the brightness of the sun and confuses your brain into thinking it’s daytime even overnight, which causes your brain to stop releasing melatonin and prevents you from falling asleep. This is exactly why experts recommend turning off all electronic devices at least 2 hours before you go to bed.

Melatonin is released in the brain by a small organ called the pineal gland a few hours before sleeping time. The science behind the blue light emitted from our smartphones has led to the discovery of a photoreceptor called Melanopsin, which lies in the retinal ganglion cells and is sensitive to blue light. New studies have now found that people using their smartphones or tablets before going to bed are having big sleeping troubles.

The blue light especially affects teenagers who are more vulnerable to it. Their circadian rhythm shifts during adolescence, causing them to feel awake late into the night, so playing a video game or watching a TV show a couple of hours before going to bed may be enough to make their morning a living hell.

Blue light isn’t the only concern

Dr. Martin Blank from the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Colombia University and other scientists around the world have joined forces to make an international appeal to the UN regarding the dangers associated with different electromagnetic emitting devices including smartphones and WiFi. These devices are the source of multiple problems, including the increased risk of cancer. A child brain absorbs 4 times more radiation than adults, which is terrifying knowing how much children today are attached to their smartphones and tablets.

And it’s not only the blue light that is disturbing – our love for our screens itself is a big problem as well. China has recently opened internet addiction clinics which treats young people by isolating them from media. Although the success is still not known, their necessity shows us how addicted we have become to technology.

What can you do?

Limiting your screen time before going to bed is a must, as is turning your screens off at least 2 hours before going to bed. You can also try an app called f.lux, which adjusts the color of your display according to the time of day and cuts off the emitting blue light. There are other similar apps which can improve your sleep quality.

Take a break from your smartphones – it will do you good and help you rest properly.