The following information is from the live Q&A session (not recorded):

  • Screens and blue light – We need approximately 1000 lux or more to entrain our circadian rhythm which is why outdoor light is so important. Sitting by a window gives us about 3000 lux which is why schools can help by sitting a child by a window. An iPad on full brightness gives off 80 lux. It is what we are doing on the screen that is important – gaming, social media, anything where we are interacting, strategizing etc will wake up our pre-frontal cortex. Calming videos, sensory videos, ASMR videos, music, favourite predictable programmes are all calming at bedtime. Unfortunately there is still a lot out there on the internet which says that blue light specifically wakes us up in the evening, it is taking a while for the research to filter through. Even Matthew Walker who wrote the best selling ‘Why We Sleep’ and talked about blue light has now retracted his prior statements about it. Professor Michael Gradisar in Australia has done a lot of work on this – he writes a blog and I am not a fan of his jokey writing style but he is well respected and is very clear about blue light https://winksleep.online/blog/65-blue-screenlight-making-it-harder-to-fall-asleep-is-the-number-1-sleep-myth-of-our-time
  • Biphasic Sleep I noticed a question about biphasic sleep in the chat – it is where people sleep until the middle of the night, wake for a few hours and then go back to bed. It is a sleep chronotype (a bit like being a ‘lark’ or an ‘owl’) and used to be fairly common when we didn’t need to work 9-5. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, it just doesn’t fit with modern life. Strategies to help are to ensure that the bedroom environment is consistent – so don’t turn anything off that is on when the child settles – leave on light, any sound eg fans or white noise, even TVs or screens. There is research now by Prof Russell Foster in Oxford which suggests that for good health we ought to pick the career that fits our chronotype – eg if you are an owl or have biphasic sleep you may suit twilight or night work.

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