Thursday, December 17, 2015

Critical Thinking: Blue Light and Sleep

To the Idle Mind,
    Whether or not a theory is correct is not always important. Sometimes, the important thing is to exercise the mind by practicing critical thinking. Musing is essentially just that: critical thinking. When we speak out our thoughts, it can help put them in order. We might find flaws in the thinking, but the lessons we learn from the process can assist us in finding those flaws faster in the future. In today's post, I don't really care so much about if my theory is true, but rather that you have an example of the critical thinking process. More research could certainly go into this topic and if you have comments and thoughts, I would be glad to hear it. Enjoy.
N. D. Moharo

    I've lately been having trouble sleeping. It's not so much about falling asleep at night anymore but waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to return to dreamland. I'm certainly guilty of using computer screens at night, but I try to at least have them off 1 hour before going to bed. Unfortunately, I might need more than one hour, but what's the problem with computer screens to begin with?
    I've heard that the culprit is Blue Light and maybe bloggers recommend installing a program called f.lux to adjust your PC's light at night. In fact, Google and Amazon recently updated their own applications and tablets to enable the same thing. Apparently, using warm colors like orange and yellow instead of Blue is more conducive to sleep, but why?
    I recall reading that the warm colored light might remind our brains about candlelight or the incandescent lights we used before bedtime and therefore our bodies get ready for bed. I will note that I recall finding it easier to fall asleep when I have the light on. Maybe the reason why was because of the warm orange glow filled the room and that helped negate the blue light from electronics. However, I doubt that's the case since that doesn't explain the physiological aspects of our bodies. We didn't always have fire (or maybe we have, but that's up for debate), so how can warm color lights have been useful for telling our bodies to prepare for sleep? In fact, when I look outside at night, I often think of the Moon as giving off a blue light, even more so than the Sun. So where in nature do we see Warm Colors to signal going to bed?
    Sunset! If you think about it, most people in the old days probably didn't stay awake long after sunset until the discovery of fire. With the warm colors of the sky to signal the day is about to end, our bodies probably took that cue to say, "prepare for sleep." Since the farming life was work while the sun is out, people would wake at or before sunrise and then sleep after sunset. There must be a reason that it used to be that the day was considered over after sunset (Hence, the Sabbath for the Jews began on Friday night, not Saturday morning).
    What do you think? Is the blue light thing a myth or reality? Is there somewhere else in nature that we see warm colors to signal going to sleep? Don't be afraid to share your respectable thoughts.

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