It’s 3 a.m. on a weeknight. You’re dead tired from work, but still, you can’t sleep. Why, you wonder?
The main culprit for sleeplessness could be your mobile phone or tablet. At the recent Philips EyeComfort launch, Dr. Glenn Carandang, an ophthalmologist and vitreo-retina surgeon, discussed eye care and the causes of eyestrain. He says that one of the causes of sleeplessness is the blue light that emanates from our mobile devices.
"Saan ba nanggagaling ang blue light? From fluorescent light, fluorescent bulb, and LED light, but our device screens are the biggest sources of blue light," Dr. Carandang shares. "There is no scientific evidence that blue light causes damage to the eyes, but blue light affects our circadian rhythm." According to sleepfoundation.org, our circadian rhythm is our sleep/wake cycle, and that lightness and darkness can impact it. When it’s dark or when night falls, your eyes send a signal to your brain and tell it that it’s time to feel tired.
Blue light impacts our circadian rhythm, tricking it into staying awake. "The blue light going to the eyes changes the rhythm of your body, and so you don’t actually sleep very well," he continues. "Sinasabi ng ilaw sa mata ninyo na umaga na ulit. So that your body is awake. So that sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night. That’s how blue light affects your body."
So how can we sleep better and also prevent eye strain? Dr. Carandang offers these five tips:
1. Stop using your mobile devices two hours before you go to sleep.
"You’d notice, ’pag pinapampatulog ninyo ang mobile device ninyo, you’d wake up in the morning very tired," says the ophthalmologist.
2. Sit about 20" to 25" or an arm’s length from your computer screen.
"Yung iPad hindi ninyo naman puwedeng ilayo, but there are ways to dim the screen. And always position it a little bit downwards; because our head is usually tilted downwards, we don’t normally look up. You’ll have neck pain if your devices are mataas."
3. Do the 20-20-20 rule.
"I think this is one of the best tips I give to my patients," Dr. Carandang says. "Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds, as recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology."
4. Use films or filters to minimize the blue light.
"Many of our iPhones and android phones produce considerable glare; you can use films to make it matte, or you can adjust the lighting. Normally, when todong-todo ang ilaw natin sa device, puwede naman natin bawasan. Because if it's so much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes will have to work much harder."
5. Use proper lighting in your room.
"For all age groups, quality lighting is vital when reading or working to prevent eye strain," Dr. Carandang emphasizes. "You can adjust the room lighting, or increase the contrast of your screen."
*This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.