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Are Your Streetlights Killing You?

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“Not only is blue-rich white LED street lighting five times more disruptive to our sleep cycle than conventional street lighting, according to the report, but recent large surveys have documented that brighter residential nighttime lighting is associated with reduced sleep, impaired daytime functioning and a greater incidence of obesity.” Read the full story from the American Medical Association here.

Your phone is a culprit, too.

Blue Light and the Eye

Photo: Review of Optometry

Here’s how we work: sunlight suppresses our body’s production of melatonin, but when it gets dark, melatonin floods our body and helps us get to sleep and stay asleep. Not surprisingly, the warm red/yellow light from a campfire doesn’t reduce melatonin, but the hot blue light from your LED streetlight or your smartphone does. If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, your TV, phone, tablet, or other blue light producers may be at fault. Check out this explanation in the Review of Optometry.

There’s an app for that!

iPhone Tutorial

Photo: YouTube/Silentwalkah

There is an app for the iPhone called Night Shift, and it turns your screen to red/yellow light at night to reduce the harmful effects of blue light. Android phones also have apps available but it is a little more complicated, and you may want to look up instructions. You can set the level of light and have it automatically turn on between sunset and sunrise. Watch this video for instructions on Night Shift.

Kerrville Public Utilities is savvy to this problem.


Photo: kerrvilletx.com

The Kerrville Public Utility Board is savvy to the problems caused by hot blue streetlights, and they are in a transition quietly lighting the way home with warmer streetlights. However, most cities aren’t on board yet with this issue. Go look at your neighborhood’s street lights; are they shining hot, blue light in your bedroom window? For more on the International Dark Sky movement, check out this short video.

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