I awoke to the blue hue of the television screen flickering in the darkened room. My neck was stiff from falling asleep on the sofa while watching the game and my eyes were sore as I tried to adjust to the lighting. I watched the TV for a few seconds while I sat on the couch in a daze. Then I stood up and turned off the television.
I groggily stumbled into the kitchen to refill my glass of water, checked the doors to make sure they were locked, turned off the remaining lights and clumsily made my way up the stairs. Fatigue cradled me in a haze between consciousness and the blissful silhouettes of dreamland as I slid quietly between the warm and inviting sheets of my bed. As my head hit the pillow, the blankets snuggly swaddled me as I drifted into the nether regions of my subconscious mind for a few more hours of sleep.
Two seconds later my eyes flew wide open! Did I send the check? Did I turn off the stove? Why did I start Jason Witten this week? Will Rick Grimes save Merle, find the guns and escape before the Zombies find him? And the questions kept coming…
It was two thirty in the morning and my mind had decided to wander back into the real world with a slew of worries for me to consider. I was awake and for the life of me, I had no reason to be. I had just been happily sleeping on the couch two minutes ago, why was I wide awake?!
And the harder I tried to sleep, the more I woke up. Pointless thoughts that I had no control over raced to the surface of my brain. The more I tried to avoid the thoughts, the more of them that surfaced. I think I finally fell asleep about an hour later and when I woke up in the morning, lots of coffee was the elixir that helped to shake off the cobwebs that had grown inside my head.
I started to wonder about those two minutes. I timed myself from the couch to my bedroom and I clearly thought about every action I made but the question still remained; what caused me to wake up as soon as my head hit the pillow?
I had a conversation with a friend of mine about my trouble falling asleep the other night, and he told me that my electronic gadgets could be the culprit. What?! My TV?! My computer?! He’s crazy!! HOW?!
He explained to me that blue light technology used in electronics has an effect on the circadian rhythms of the body. Here is the simple explanation; Light was originally dictated by nature. Then man made light but light bulbs weren’t horrible. It affected us but not enough to mess with our minds. Then man invented blue light. Blue light suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is what helps people fall asleep. My television, my computer, my cell phone and my blackberry are all guilty of creating blue light. Therefore, blue light technology in my house affects my sleep patterns.
Could this be true?! Could I be the cause of my own problem?!
I immediately searched the World Wide Web for evidence to support or discredit the “blue light theory!” My search has been inconclusive. Some studies have shown that blue lights can be used to reset a person’s circadian rhythms when they have insomnia. But, many other articles suggest that blue light does suppress melatonin. Their suggestion; powering down an hour or so before going to bed. Unfortunately, though, I do not have a conclusive answer about my friend’s “blue light theory.”
Stephanie, on the other hand, will love this article and I can guarantee that she will bring it up every time I am tired (of course, this will prove whether or not she actually reads my articles, but I digress!). For now, it seems highly plausible that the “blue lights” of my electronic gadgets could be causing the sleeplessness I felt after the two minute walk to my bed. The reason is simple; before I turned off the TV, I watched it for thirty seconds or so while I tiredly sat up on the couch.
I am conflicted about my findings because I use electronic gadgets all the time. I read my newspapers online, I write at night when Stephanie and the children have gone to bed and I stay up late to watch sporting events on television. So what do I do if the information about blue lights is true? Will it change my habits?! Probably not. But if the blue light theory is true, the next time I can’t fall asleep when my head hits the pillow, I guess I’ll have no one to blame but myself.