Friday 22 April 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | The Dark Side of Blue Light

Marla Ahlgrimm
Late night smart device use is actually toxic to the brain, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The Madison, Wisconsin based women’s healthcare expert cites blue light emission as the culprit.

A diurnal disruption

Since the dawn of humankind, the sun has been the primary regulator of our internal clocks, notes Marla Ahlgrimm. The advent of electricity – and even more profoundly the introduction of mobile electronics – has had a damaging effect on many people’s circadian rhythms. The primary problem with electronic devices is the unfiltered emission of blue light.

Night light plight

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, any type of light can inhibit melatonin production. However, blue light is a more powerful melatonin supressant than other wavelengths. Researchers from Harvard University have found that persons exposed to 6 ½ hours of blue light had melatonin production delayed at night by up to three hours. This makes it harder to sleep, and in turn function, on a day-to-day basis, explains Marla Ahlgrimm.

Fragmented focus

Women are particularly negatively affected by a lack of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can lower a woman’s ability to solve problems, create memory impairment, and lead to constant disruptions while performing simple tasks. “It is exceedingly difficult to focus during the day without adequate sleep,” says Marla Ahlgrimm.

A double dose of danger

Marla Ahlgrimm notes that long term complications from fatigue can leave both men and women with higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of future cardiovascular dysfunction. Women who, on average, rested for less than five hours each night had much higher levels of this protein in their systems. One 2007 study found that a lack of sleep could more than double a woman’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Suggestions for a sounder slumber

To avoid such problems, Marla Ahlgrimm suggests stepping away from electronics, including e-readers, at least two hours before turning in for the evening. Dim the lights an hour before bed and remember, the bedroom is no place for television or video games.


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