No More Blue Light Induced iPad Insomnia

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Getting to sleep after using the iPad or iPhone may no longer be a problem. Thin filters that block the blue light that cuts off melatonin (the sleep hormone) are now available from Photonic Developments LLC at

The media has been full of stories (1) about how the glowing screens of electronic gadgets are keeping people awake at night. The blue light coming from the screens suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone. Scientists at John Carroll University have invented thin vinyl filters that block blue light. The filters (patent pending) adhere to the screen and do not interfere with the touch-screen control.

Partly it may be the mental stimulation of using the electronic devices before bedtime, but there is a real physiological reason for iPad insomnia as well. The blue light coming from the glowing screens suppresses the production of melatonin. Blue light has also been shown to produce an alerting reaction involving the production of adrenaline (2).

The new filter material is thin, soft and highly flexible and adheres strongly to the surface of the screen. It is however, readily removed and replaced. When removed it leaves nothing behind. When it gets dirty it may be washed with soap and water and restored to brand new condition. It has holes in the right places so it does not interfere with the operation of the device. Because it is thin, the touch-screen action is not affected. Since it only removes the blue part of the spectrum, all the other colors look normal. Deep blue appears black, while light blue appears green. Filters for iPads and iPhones are now available. Filters for other tablets and smart phones will be available soon.

It has been well documented (3) that it is primarily the blue rays in ordinary white light that are responsible for melatonin suppression. Blocking blue light from entering the eye by the use of filters has also been demonstrated to restore normal melatonin production (4). Thousands of people have purchased eyeglasses that block blue light from and found they help them sleep better. The sellers are so confident they will improve sleep, they provide a money back guarantee. Based on returns, more than 90% find they help people fall and stay asleep.

Rigid plastic filters for TV and laptop computers are also available at as well as light bulbs that do not produce the damaging blue rays. Both incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are available. The science behind these products is discussed in two books by Dr. Hansler “Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer!” and “Heroes of Cancer Prevention Research” that are available on the website.

Dr. Michael Breus SleepWell Blog. Sep. 4, 2012 “Why do we have such a hard time getting a good night’s sleep?”

PLoS One. 2011 Jan 26;6(1):e16429.
Non-visual effects of light on melatonin, alertness and cognitive performance: can blue-enriched light keep us alert?
Chellappa SL, Steiner R, Blattner P, Oelhafen P, Götz T, Cajochen C.

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Brainard GC, Hanifin JP, Greeson JM, Byrne B, Glickman G, Gerner E, Rollag MD.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 May;90(5):2755-61. Epub 2005 Feb 15 Links
Blocking low-wavelength light prevents nocturnal melatonin suppression with no adverse effect on performance during simulated shift work.
Kayumov L, Casper RF, Hawa RJ, Pereelman B. Chang SA, Solalsky S, Shapiro CM

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Richard Hansler
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