PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are more warnings about blue light as doctors say nighttime exposure from the harsh glare on phones and computers can be dangerous.
Doctors say exposure to blue light from electronics at night interferes with sleep and has been linked to cancer, but experts say a few clicks on settings is one easy fix.
Edward Takach has trouble falling and staying asleep, so he’s made big changes.
All of his electronics are set up so he sees warmer colors from dusk to dawn, and so is the lighting in his home.
He is trying to block blue light from electronics and with energy efficient light bulbs at night.
“It does help me personally as a sleep patient, feel more ready for sleep and get to sleep a lot easier,” said Takach.
Exposure at night throws off the body’s biological clock and suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
“We’ve done studies showing that if we read, for example, from an iPad in the few hours before bedtime, that resets are circadian clock by about an hour-and-a-half later,” said researcher Dr. Charles Czeisler.
There’s also evidence that exposure to blue light at night may not just affect sleep.
“Shifting our circadian rhythms repeatedly has been associated with increased risk with various types of cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer,” said Czeisler.
The best advice is if you work nights or use a lot of devices in the evening, use apps or settings to get warmer light. Most importantly, avoid bright screens two to three hours before bed.
“On the nights where I’m really compliant it does help significantly. On nights you aren’t compliant, you can really feel it,” said Takach.
Sleep researchers say it’s also good to expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which can improve mood and alertness and also help you get a better night’s sleep.