12AM…and I cannot sleep. I begin to wonder why. I have room darkening shades. The temperature is right. I am not thirsty or hungry. Yet I feel irritated.
Then it occurs to me…light pollution! Yes…light pollution. As I begin to look around the darkened room…I notice that every electronic device has some sort of indicator light on it. The power strip…has a large red light on the on/off switch, and a bright green LED indicating surge protection is active. The Bright House cable box…even in dim night mode…has no less than 4 green LEDs on it. The Samsung LCDTV…has an illuminated power switch…blue backlight, and a red LED! Even the Airwick freshener…has a LED on it…shining yellow. The computer monitor in the corner…has a large yellow LED on it. The alarm clock…bright green LED. My cell phone, as it is charging, emits a powerful amount of light. The air filter unit…has two red LEDs on it! And the Netgear RangeMax router, even though I tried my best to tuck it away, emits a flashing blue strobe light effect that looks like a cop car at night!
When added up, the incident light from all of these indicator lights equal the lumens you would expect from a 15 watt light bulb. It is amazing just how much light leaks from unused devices. In the middle of the night last night, I went on a mission…to find a way to darken each and every one of these light emitting indicators. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds…these lights are quite intense, and powering down the device does not make a difference. Covering them with tape only diffused the light, making it more visible. Using black electrical tape works, but can be a problem is ventilation is obscured by your actions. Quite simply, it is nearly impossible to dim this light pollution.
Realizing what was irritating me has only made matters worse. Now I tend to focus on the irritating light…and have started to develop mild insomnia. My wife said..I was being a silly baby…and bought me a night mask….like Mr. Drummond used to use on Diff’rent Strokes. But the mask makes me feel claustrophobic. I guess I need to just suck it up…and learn to live with the light pollution.