Studies show that 1 in 6 Australians are struggling with anxiety. While there’s no one cause, research shows the ever- increasing use of screens in our daily lives is a major contributor.

But it’s not just excessive scrolling and overstimulating content. It’s also the devices themselves, specificially, the blue light they emit.

What are the sources of blue light?

The sun! Prior to technology, it was the only source of blue light. LED lights produce an artificial blue light. They are used in flat- screen TVs, laptops, smartphones, tablets and fluorescent lights.

What effect does blue light have on our bodies?

Blue light tells our bodies that it is daytime. The blue light from the sun peaks at midday

and reduces as the day progresses until sunset, when we are exposed to more red, yellow, and orange light, and then darkness.

The red light of the sun signals to our bodies that it’s time to start preparing for sleep. But what happens when our bodies are exposed to blue light in the evening or into the night? Disruption can occur in the following areas:

  • Circadian Rhythm: Blue light exposure, especially in the evening and nighttime, can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Poor sleep quality and disrupted sleep patterns have been linked to increased anxiety levels.
  • Stress Response: Prolonged exposure to blue light has been associated with increased cortisol levels, which is a hormone released in response to stress. While we need it in the morning to bring about wakefulness, increased cortisol levels can contribute to higher levels of anxiety.
  • Emotional Regulation: Research indicates that blue light exposure, particularly in the evening, can alter brain activity in areas involved in emotional processing. Disruptions
    in emotional regulation could potentially contribute to increased feelings of anxiety or exacerbate existing anxiety symptoms.

Tips to minimise the negative effects of Blue Light:

• Blue Light Boundaries: Experiment with setting some new boundaries around screen time. A good place to start would be to choose one evening a week where you swap out your evening screen time for something else that facilitates connection or internal peace.

• Filter the Light: There are apps and settings on many devices that make
it possible to reduce some blue light emitted from the screen. Blue-light- blocking glasses can also reduce blue-light exposure. While they do not replace healthy screen habits, they may be useful when worn while looking at screens in the evening and at night.

• Acupuncture: Stress can disrupt the flow of energy (Qi) in the body. Acupuncture can be used to balance this circulation of energy, resulting in a calmer state of being. It also has a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system, which is a key player in stress regulation.

Get It Mag_April 24 – Read the article here.