Using a laptop, tablet, or phone at bedtime is pretty common these days. And watching an ASMR video to help relax the brain before nodding off is becoming even more common.
But there could be a problem with this method of relaxation.
Several studies have shown that being exposed to light from a computer screen at bedtime can interfere with sleep onset and/or sleep quality.
So how do computer screens interfere with sleep?
The bright light from a computer screen at bedtime confuses the brain to think it is still daytime and therefore figures it is not yet time to fall asleep. The light from the computer screen does this by reducing the production of melatonin from the pineal gland in the brain.
Melatonin levels are usually highest around bedtime and are believed to play a role in the initiation and quality of sleep. In fact, melatonin or drugs that stimulate the melatonin receptor are sometimes advocated or prescribed for individuals with insomnia.
Therefore, if the bright light from your computer screen is reducing your melatonin levels then it may also be reducing your ability to fall asleep or to get quality sleep. And sure enough, several studies done in the past couple of years demonstrate this.
But what about watching ASMR videos?
Is the potential sleep-inducing effect of an ASMR video at bedtime eliminated by the sleep-interfering effect of staring at a bright computer screen?
Unfortunately, no one has done a research study on this yet.
It may be safe to guess that the relaxing effects of ASMR videos are not totally eliminated by the bright light of the screen because of all the online reports of people using ASMR videos to help them fall asleep.
So lets postulate a more logical research question.
Is the potential sleep-inducing effect of an ASMR video at bedtime reduced by the sleep-interfering effect of staring at a bright computer screen?
Here are some methods to test if the light from a computer screen reduces the relaxing effect of an ASMR video:
- Compare computer screens set at different levels of brightness
- Compare an unfiltered computer screen to a computer screen with a filter that blocks the wavelength range that inhibits melatonin the most (~450-495 nm, which is the wavelength range for blue light)
- Similar to above, the viewer could wear glasses that filter out the wavelength range of light that inhibits melatonin the most
- Compare watching the video to only listening to the video
The measured outcomes to any of the above methods could include time to fall asleep, quality of sleep, melatonin levels (can be measured in saliva), or next day wakefulness.
Hopefully some researchers will investigate this soon so we all can know how to get the maximal relaxation out of those terrific and soporific ASMR videos.
Click HERE to read an abstract of a research article related to this topic.
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This post brought to you by the ASMR University. A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
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