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How do LED and OLED screens influence sleep?

Ramiro Guzman
5 min read
How do LED and OLED screens influence sleep? – Wellness and Health
Continuous exposure to device screens promotes insomnia

The medical community in general has been warning about the exposure of the person to LED and OLED screens. When it becomes too prolonged, it causes significant sleep disturbances.

Whether by routine or work, the human being is linked to this kind of technology. She is present on smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and more, making it difficult to leave, but not impossible.

What do the terms LED and OLED refer to?

Currently, multimedia devices are based on an LED or OLED screen depending on their manufacture. Although they seem similar terms, the reality is that they are very different.

  1. We speak of LED to that screen that is composed of a structure divided between an LCD screen and backlight. The latter uses "light emitting diodes" that are responsible for "activating" the pixels on the screen and causing the image to be displayed.

  2. On the other hand, OLED screens are structured by a different type of diode. This itself is known as an organic light-emitting diode, capable of producing its own lighting to activate the pixels. In other words, it does not require the backlight to work.

As another order of ideas, LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. Whereas, OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode.

And how are LED or OLED screens related to sleep and insomnia?

Many people ignore the fact that the aforementioned screens disproportionately affect falling asleep. Even those who suffer from marked insomnia do not take it into account as a highly predisposing factor.

Prolonged exposure to lighting has an adverse effect on a specialized hormone known as melatonin. In addition to its intrinsic action on the skin, it also acts in an essential phase for rest, the REM stage.

How do LED and OLED screens influence sleep? – Wellness and Health
REM sleep is the last and deepest stage of sleep where the brain rests.

REM stands for "rapid eye movement," the deepest phase of sleep. Its role is to energize brain activity through a good rest and participate in cognitive processes. Among them, the storage of memories, experiences and mood regulation.

By altering the physiology of melatonin, the brain does not enter its rest and reorganization stage. Consequently, the consequences range from insomnia, anxiety disorders, compulsive behaviors and rapid mood swings.

"Vamping": The neologism associated with these cases

"Vamping" is the neologism coined by a certain part of the scientific community to refer to this bad habit. In an Anglo-Saxon way, it results from the combination of "vampire" (vampire) and "texting" (messaging).

It emphasizes the constant activity that has as its object the sending of instant messages late at night. It translates into an extended use of any device which progressively alters the function of melatonin.

Such a hormone responds to sunlight, being inactive in front of it or during daylight hours. When it decreases, it starts its process associated with the sleep cycle, approximately 2 hours before sleeping.

How do LED and OLED screens influence sleep? – Wellness and Health
"Vamping" not only alters sleep, but also food and daily development

The light emitted by LED or OLED screens at night replaces the role of solar lighting. Therefore, melatonin secretion is delayed or exponentially decreased with a subsequent deficit in falling asleep.

Complications or consequences arising from insomnia

Complications derived from insomnia due to exposure to screens can have serious consequences. On top of that, it promotes the consolidation of sequelae with a high degree of recurrence or little treatable in the long term.

  1. Gradually decreases the routine development of the individual. The ability to reach optimal levels of concentration and dedication will be impossible after a reluctant night's rest.

  2. It greatly increases the risk of car accidents. Lack of coordination and visual disturbances are factors that predispose to this type of traumatic situation.

  3. It promotes the deficit of the general cognitive and mental apparatus of the person. In essence, it participates in the appearance of common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.

Recommendations that will help prevent counterproductive scenarios

Medical studies agree that the ideal is for any device to be set aside 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Be it smartphones, tablets, notebooks, computers, televisions or any light-emitting product, it must be turned off and away.

As another recommendation, the personal room or bedroom needs to be completely dark. Not only LED or OLED screens compromise sleep, but any minimal source that radiates light.

How do LED and OLED screens influence sleep? – Wellness and Health
Although it may not seem like it, any minimal source of light compromises the sleep cycle

Do not skew your vision by directly placing the screen too close to your eyes. Otherwise, the sensitivity to the violet and blue spectrum by the retina also completely alters the mechanism of action of melatonin.

Expert opinion concludes that it is increasingly difficult to fall asleep. Although natural light is reduced at night, electric lighting has the same effect. In other words, sleeping in the necessary conditions is no longer such a simple activity.