I don’t know anyone who stares at a selfie and LOVES it.
After all, the cameras on our cellphones now are so good that it’s hard not to notice every flaw and imperfection. And that includes all the little signs of aging we work so hard to cover up.
But one study finds your cellphone and other gadgets are not only helping to show your age. They could also be CAUSING it.
It turns out certain tech devices have a hidden trait that could speed aging on a cellular level.
But there is a way to help protect yourself from that damage WITHOUT giving up your cellphone or any other device.
The damaging light that AGES our cells
Many of our favorite gadgets… cellphones, tablets, and some TVs… are firing blue light right through our eyeballs and into our brains.
This light may not “look” blue. But LED screens use blue wavelengths to form the images you see. And that’s a problem because the brain interprets this type of light as “daylight,” which can make it difficult to sleep.
But that’s not the worst of it. A lab experiment found that light could be taking a far more frightening toll on your health than simply leaving you sleep-deprived.
That same blue light could hit the fast forward button on cellular aging, sending you to an early grave.
Now, this was a study on fruit flies. So there is still a lot we need to learn. But considering how addicted we all are to our cellphones, the results were disturbing, to say the least.
Researchers at Oregon State University found 12 hours of blue light – the same kind given off by the LED screens on your phone – damaged both retinal cells in the eyes and neurons in the brain in tests on fruit flies.
That led to the kind of impaired behavior that typically comes with age.
Cellphones disrupt melatonin production
Now, as I said, this was a study on bugs, of course. But there are two very real ways this could apply to us as well.
First, blue light messes with your circadian rhythm, so you don’t get proper sleep. It’s harder to fall asleep. Plus, it’s tougher to get the vital deep restorative sleep your body requires to sweep out toxins and carry out repairs.
In other words, this vital sleep state is precisely when your body is fighting off the toll of aging. But you could be missing out on it because of that LED screen on your cellphone.
And second, the reason it’s harder to sleep is your brain registers that blue light wavelength as daylight. That means the pineal gland in your brain doesn’t secrete sleep-inducing melatonin on schedule.
That’s a problem on more than one level. Because the so-called “sleep hormone” does more than help you to sleep. Melatonin is also a powerful age-fighting hormone.
Switch off damaging blue light from cellphones
It’s one thing to know all this. But it’s quite another to do something about it. Because let’s face it, we love our tech. And we could all stand to look up from our screens more often.
Now I’m not pointing any fingers here. I include myself in that group. I’m guilty of overusing cellphones and other tech myself.
So don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you switch back to a landline and go cold-turkey. But there are ways to keep using your cellphones and other gadgets without facing these life-sapping risks.
Set time limits: Don’t use your devices right before bed, and definitely, don’t bring them into bed.
Embrace night mode: When you use them in the evening, see if your phone, computer, or e-reader has a “night mode” that dims the blue light. Most do. Some do it automatically these days.
Try computer glasses: Certain types of lenses can filter out blue light, and they’re available in a prescription form, too.
Of course, you could take all three of those steps… maybe never even touch cellphones again… and, still, fall short on essential melatonin. And that means you might not get the restorative sleep it provides.
As we age, our bodies produce less of this vital hormone. So if you’re not sleeping well, you might want to consider trying a melatonin supplement to get your sleep schedule back on track. A spray form will go to work more quickly.