Do you have trouble falling asleep or toss and turn in the middle of the night? Your issue may be the hours of exposure to your TV, laptop, and smartphone. Blocking out blue light is important for a good night’s sleep. Here’s why it’s so important, the steps to take to minimize, and we also determine if blue blocking glasses really work. Read more…
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What is Blue Light
Blue light from the sun is a good thing. It sends signals to the pineal gland in our brain that it’s daylight and helps us to be awake and productive. We are also bombarded 24/7 from our computers, laptops, smartphones, TVs, and even light bulbs that emit large amounts of artificial blue light.
Pause on that for a second. Let’s shift temporary to melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm which is our sleep/wake cycle. Your brain begins to release melatonin several hours before bedtime, and it peaks in the middle of the night. Back in the day, we went to sleep when it was dark, woke up when it was light, and spent a considerable amount of time outside. The sun was the biggest influencer sending all-natural blue light to our brains to help regulate melatonin and this sleep/wake cycle.
Now, we live and work inside under artificial light, and spend the majority of our day on our screens. Artificial blue light is all around us, disrupting our sleep/wake cycle.
Why Blocking Blue Light is the Key to a Good Night’s Sleep
According to James and Tristan Swanwick, “There are lights on our screens that we stare into at nighttime after the sun is long gone. Blue light is in your cell phone, TV screen, computer, bathroom and kitchen lights, alarm clock – almost everywhere. When we stare at these screens – as you may be doing now – it tricks our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime. This means we don’t produce as much melatonin.”
The research is growing about the dangers of artificial blue light, especially in the evening. A Harvard study has linked exposure to blue light at night to an increase in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. (source)
Since it’s impossible to live in a bubble and not be away from our cell phones, tablets, computers and TV’s for any length of time, day glasses for screen glare and classic blue light blockers are some of our practitioner’s favorite health hacks.
Do Blue Light Blockers Really Work?
The research is still very new, but is trending towards YES! Even the Harvard study confirmed the effectiveness of blue blocker glasses. Studies from the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center have also concluded their effectiveness.
According to Swanwick, their Night Swannies can block 99% of blue light from hitting your eyes.
Steps to Reduce Blue Light at Night
These are the steps that the experts recommend and ones that I do myself and highly recommend.
1. Greet the sunrise. Tell your brain that it’s morning and time to wake up. Even if I walk outside in my bathrobe, I still greet the morning and do a few stretches while I’m at it.
2. Expose yourself to sunlight during the day. Go for a walk or sit outside and bask in the sun and even get a little Vitamin D.
3. Use the f.lux app on your phone and computer.
4. If you get street light (lamps, cars, etc) streaming into your bedroom, invest in blackout blinds.
5. Swap out your green display alarm clock for one that has a red light display.
6. Change your night light to one with a red light.
Finally, I could tell you to turn off the screens a few hours before bedtime, but 99% of you would just laugh at me. So wear your blue blockers starting at 90 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.
Blue Blocking Resources
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