Day 73 or, Kill You Television


Dr. Sunshine

3/15/20231 min read

We were a little late out the door this morning, and by "We" I mean the kids. They were easily awakened, but they usually don't need any help, especially Little Miss. This could be some carry over from Daylight Saving Time (curse you!!!), or maybe a growth spurt. Or, could it be something else? Perhaps it was...the TV, in the den, with the blue light! Yes, that was what was different yesterday. In our house typically screens are off by 8 pm and that includes TV. Once in a great while we will go past that for a movie, but not by much, and the last time was many weeks ago. Last night though we got sucked into finishing a stand-up special followed by a couple episodes of Seinfeld. All in it was well after 9 when we shut it down. Then we still did a bit of our usual routine and admittedly were actually in bed a little later than usual even though technically everyone was asleep (albeit on the couch), by the same time as usual. So, at a minimum, the TV served as a colossal time suck that threw us off our schedule. This is probably what threw off our schedule this morning.

However, the effect of a late night hit of blue light cannot be discounted. Blue light suppresses melatonin, which is one of our sleep signals. Sunrise light is relatively high in blue light, telling our pineal glands it is time to be awake and slow down production of melatonin. Blue light is always present, but for example at sunset it is present along with red and UVA to balance it out. TVs and other screens are skewed toward blue light, so using them after sunset potentially gives us another hit in the evening confuses our pineal glands. One night may not affect us too much, but doing it repeatedly is a recipe for disaster.

Getting a little in the weeds here, but now that I'm on a roll I promise to circle back and go a little more in depth on this later. For now I have to go move some snow. What sweet irony that we can't get to the ski hill because we are snowed in!

As always, this blog is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personal medical advice. Please talk to your doctor or cable company before killing your TV.