Vogt's Notes: For a good night’s sleep, turn off the blue light

Shut the laptop, put the cellphone aside and instead read a few chapters of a good book

Photo illustration /

Sunday night, I worked on my laptop for several hours before shutting it down and heading to bed around 11:45 p.m.

My head was spinning with work, and though I fell asleep rather quickly, I didn’t have a great night of sleep.

Weird I know, but I got wrapped up in a dream about naming the state’s snowplows.

In my dream, I was trying to edit a story about this, as well as a story about the name of the snowplow in our Minnesota Department of Transportation central Minnesota district.

Where in the world did this dream with an endless cycle of trying to edit two stories come from? Sure, this story was in the news, but it was nearly a month ago.


While interesting, the study of dreams is not the point of this column.

The point is this: I’ve learned that when I work right before bed, I don’t get a restful sleep. Either my mind is racing and I can’t fall asleep for hours, or I have those weird dreams.

A great tidbit I recently learned is to avoid blue light from electronic devices for at least an hour before bed for a better night’s sleep.

I tried it, and it works!

As part of another challenge at work called Fatigue Fighters, over four weeks we learned four ways to fight fatigue: Stay hydrated, avoid excessive sugars, exercise and avoid blue light.

I’m well aware of the benefits of those first three items. And though I’ve heard about blue light and sleep, I’ve never actively tried to avoid it before bedtime.

We learned that the blue light from electronic devices messes with sleep in several ways:

It suppresses melatonin, which is our body’s natural sleep and wake clock; it delays the onset of sleep; and it reduces REM sleep, which is the deep sleep needed for restoration.


So for a week, I was mindful of not working on my laptop, not scrolling through Facebook or email on my phone, and even turning off the TV an hour before going to bed.

Instead, I read a book before bed.

I truly fell asleep faster and slept better.

I strongly recommend you give this a try, especially if you have trouble sleeping.

Back to dreams - I do have to admit to having odd dreams even when I don’t work or scroll on my phone before bedtime.

And, after Sunday night’s dream, I looked up central Minnesota’s winning snowplow name this year. It’s “Better Call Salt.”

The name with the most total votes was “Yer a Blizzard, Harry.” We did talk about this name at work recently because I didn’t understand it. Coworkers told me it’s a reference to Harry Potter, which I know nothing about.

Maybe that recent conversation is why it stuck in my brain and came back in a dream.


No matter what, I will continue to avoid laptop, phone use and television before bedtime whenever possible.

Bring on good books and restful sleep.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Opinion by Nancy Vogt
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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