Walking through the living room after midnight, I noticed LED lights everywhere. Red, green and blue LED lights gleamed from all corners of the room.
Printer, DVD player, computer and modem all shined and pulsed with the glow of light-emitting diodes.
In the kitchen, cordless phone base, power strip, charging station, radio, weather radio, even the coffee maker signaled their presence with colored lights.
It wasn’t that long ago that a luminescent glow from the minute and second hands on a bedside alarm clock was all you could see at night.
The phosphorescent dial was a luxury feature. With a glow-in-the-dark dial, you didn’t have to get up and turn on bedroom lights to see what time it was. Wow!
Then came clocks with light-up dials. I remember, before LED digital, we had a clock with a light-up face that worked like a Rolodex. It displayed small, numbered flip-cards that rolled over, digit by digit, a pre-digital digital clock.
Finally, LED digital clocks appeared, almost all with red digital displays.
You not only could see the clock across the room, but you couldn’t not see the clock across the room. Red LED light was a staple of bedroom ambience.
After awhile you grew used to the red glow. Or, like my husband, you slept under your pillow.
Eventually, green LED lights came into fashion, and though most clocks stuck to red digits, the ubiquitous green indicator dot glowed from everything else: one lone, green shining nodule to say, “Hello! You will note my existence!”
An air purifier in our bedroom annoys me nightly because its small, green LED light burns into my closed eyelids. You’d think that something so small would not be a problem, but LED lights pierce, prick and stab.
I know I am not the only one who hates them.
Drapes keep out headlights, moonlight, starlight and any other stray source of light at night, but LED lights are on the wrong side of drapes.
And now, blue LED lights have emerged and are more jarring even than green ones. They are the equivalent of a high-pitched squeal right into your ear. I can see the glow of blue LED lights two rooms away.
I’ll admit that when I first saw them, they seemed ethereal and pretty. And the combination of red, green and blue gave my kitchen a certain holiday feel.
But trying to sleep in a room with a blue LED light is another matter.
That’s why I was surprised to see in a recent Wall Street Journal article that new “sleep aids” are being marketed that involve blue light. For about $40, you can buy sleep goggles with blue glow strips in them. Or you can buy a small projector that pulses blue light onto the ceiling.
Marketed as sleep aids, these devices try to turn annoying tech developments into health products. Instead of keeping you awake at night, these blue light devices are supposed to lull you to sleep.
I would pay not to have blue light pulsed over my head at night.
According to the article, blue is supposed to be soothing and calm, like the sky or ocean. But the blue ring on my laptop charger is not soothing, nor is the dial on my coffee maker or the dot on the printer. They are like pin pricks of pain to the eyes.
I have a better cure for insomnia: Unplug every single appliance in the house. If nothing else, the effort will exhaust you, and that’s better than one more light-emitting device at bedtime.
Donna Marmorstein writes and lives in Aberdeen. You can contact her at email@example.com.