Vital Signs
1:00 am
Mon March 11, 2013

The Dark Side Of Blue Light On Sleep

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, blue light from various sources – including electronic devices -- might be a problem. Studies suggest even low levels of blue light can delay secretions in the body of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. In this edition of Vital Signs, the scoop on blue light from sleep specialist Dr. John Herman, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The KERA Interview

How much sleep do you need a day?

  • Infants require about 16 hours a day.
  • Teenagers should get 9 hours on average.
  • Most adults need 7 to 8 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours.
  • Women in the first three months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.

And if you don't get enough sleep, here's what can happen:

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

For more information:

Impact of Blue Light on Sleep

Insomnia Slideshow: 20 Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Q & A about Melatonin

What Affects Sleep

Good Sleep Habits