How Blocking Blue Light at Night Helps You Sleep
In a screen dominated world it’s hard to avoid light exposure. Whether it’s from phones, energy saving bulbs or the sun itself, it’s important to consider the risks of this new well lit phenomenon. While some research has found that prolonged consistent exposure to blue light might be linked to some diseases, we do know it affects how we sleep. Fear not there are some things you can do. We’re here to briefly outline some of the facts and dangers, and what you can do!
What Blue Light Is
Blue light is emitted by the sun, along with the spectrum of colored light rays that make up all visible light.
Visible blue light is the portion of the color ray spectrum with the shortest wavelengths and highest amount of energy. We tend to define blue light as High Energy Visible (HEV) and just like exposure to UV light, it has both benefits and dangers. It’s these light rays that make the sky appear blue.
What Produces Blue Light
Blue light is mainly from the sun. Being outdoors during daylight hours is the main way humans are exposed to it.
Blue light is everywhere, though, including from artificial light sources like LEDs. Televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets emit significant amounts of blue light too. But it is the time we spend looking into the screens and the proximity to our faces that causes the real harm for our eyes.
Blue light exposure can be very beneficial in the day, boosting attention and mood, making you more productive and energetic. It’s the rise of exposure to these waves through things like energy efficient bulbs and technology that are used after daylight hours that causes our circadian rhythm to shift.
How to Reduce the Effect of Blue Light
As blue light is so unavoidable it’s important to protect yourself from the harmful effects to your health and sleep schedule. There are some small steps you can take to help preserve your circadian rhythm:
- Use dim red lights at night, which tend to have little effect on your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid looking at bright screens two hours before bed, or use yellow filters or apps to block blue light if you can’t avoid your screen.
- Expose yourself to lots of bright light earlier in the day, which will help you sleep at night and lift your mood!
- Get some blue light blocking glasses if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or other screen. These Kanturo blue light glasses help protect you from the prolonged exposure to blue light and prevent your eyes becoming sore and tired.
How it Can Affect Your Sleep
The anterior structures of the human eye are pretty good at blocking UV rays, but are less well equipped to block out the HEV rays. It’s this that can put the circadian rhythm or body clock out of it’s natural pattern.
Moreover, exposure to blue light at night can suppress the secretion of melatonin which is a hormone that takes part in regulating our circadian rhythm, thus affecting our sleep. A study completed at Harvard experimented with comparing the effect of blue light exposure over many hours to a green light of the same brightness, in this instance the research seemed to conclude that over 6.5 hours, the blue light suppresses melatonin production for twice as long and shifted the circadian rhythms by twice as much as the green light!
With expert advice like that it’s probably time to give serious thought to your own habits and ask yourself if blue light could be seriously affecting your sleep and health.