Your devices probably hold many precious memories — photos from vacations and family holidays, videos of first steps and first dances. But what do you do when the hours of scrolling through them is actually impacting the most important place you keep these moments — your memory?
Blue light, emitted from phones, laptops, tablets and other digital devices, can suppress melatonin production, a hormone critical to the sleep-wake cycle. This makes it harder to fall asleep, disrupting the circadian rhythm and creating a whole host of problems. And while struggling to get out of bed for tomorrow morning’s workout or feeling a bit groggy at work are certainly near-term problems, recent research is finding a link between a lack of sleep and more serious long-term issues, like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
When blue light impacts sleep, it can actually disrupt the REM cycle, the point during which your brain processes memories. In this latest study, adults aged 50–60 who slept less than 6 hour per night were identified as having a higher risk of developing dementia later in life. In another small study, the NIH discovered that even losing one night of sleep resulted in an increase of beta-amyloid in the brain, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s.
While all of this is slightly scary — after all, who among us hasn’t pulled an all-nighter or two — there are several steps you can take today to help protect your sleep.
First, and perhaps the most obvious, is to limit your screen time before bed to allow your body to release melatonin. You can also use features like Night Shift to change the color of your screen and provide a warmer light for night-time use.
However, one of the best way to protect yourself throughout the day is by using a blue light blocking screen protector on your digital devices. EyeJust filters blue light by 50%, directly at the source, protecting both your eyes and your sleep cycle. Now that is something worth smiling about, just like the memory of your last vacation.