Blue light messes with sleep
Too much blue light at night could give you trouble sleeping and alter your internal body clock, according to a new report from the Royal Society Te Apārangi.
The report explains that our eyes use blue light to adjust our body clocks to the right timezone.
The SMC gathered expert reaction on the report.
"With electronic devices like our phones and iPads and computer screens, we are exposing ourselves to more and more blue light which... delays our clocks to a later time zone and it effectively gives us jet lag," Assoc Prof Guy Warman from the University of Auckland told Newstalk ZB.
Warman, who was part of the expert advisory group for the report, says the sleep disruption caused by this interference can weaken our immunity and increases the risk of obesity, depression, and potentially some types of cancer.
The report advises the public to expose ourselves to blue light in the morning to help us wake up, but to limit blue light at night by reducing screen brightness, using night-time apps that lower blue light output or turning devices off.
We're not the only ones affected blue light, as insects and plants are also sensitive to blue light, with insects showing signs of disrupted feeding behaviours, pollination efforts, and reproduction.
"Even small solar-powered LEDs, the kind people have in their gardens, can alter insect behaviour," forest protection scientist Lindsay Bulman from Scion told Stuff.
"If we want to minimise the effect of nighttime lighting on the environment we need to think about how, when and where we use lighting at home and in public spaces, and look at using lights that do not have a significant blue wavelength component."
The light pollution from white LED streetlights (which have a large blue light component) can also stop us from seeing the stars, leading astronomists to lobby for outdoor lighting only to be used when needed and to make sure these lights only point downwards.