From our computers to smartwatches, blue light is everywhere. Increasingly, we're learning about its harmful effects on our sleep habits and how heightened exposure can have a lasting impact on our well-being. Here, we'll explain where blue light comes from, what it means for your health, and how you can lessen its effects.
A blue light primer
Let's break down this blue light business for you. Blue light is a perceptible colour on the visible light spectrum. Our primary source of natural blue light is the sun, and its presence is aligned with our circadian rhythms, signalling when it's time to be active and when it's time to rest. After all, blue light on its own isn't bad for our health—it can even reduce fatigue levels, boost our moods and overall performance, and even help treat depression. Blue light oversaturation, on the other hand, is where things get concerning. Now that we're loading up on it from different digital sources, like computer screens, smartphones, tablets, LED lights, and beyond, we can observe a change in our sleep patterns. An increase in blue light exposure leads to the suppression of melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone released by our pineal gland, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle). As a result, we're tricked into thinking it's still daytime when we're getting ready to crawl into bed.
Short on sleep, short on energy
Medical experts agree. Not only does it lower your cognitive function — like making you more accident-prone or forgetful — sleep deprivation can have long-term effects on our health—even, in worst cases, contributing to diseases we’d prefer to avoid down the line. For these reasons and others, getting a good night's sleep is essential to your health.
How to curb the effects of blue light
Here's how to mitigate the effects of blue light on your sleep.
First up, if you spend hours in front of a computer screen or TV every day, you'd be wise to invest in a pair of blue-light-blocking lenses. Yes, the hype is real.
These lenses have an extremely subtle, yellow tint that helps block out the blue light entering your vision. According to a randomized trial about blue light blocking technology from the National Library of Medicine, these lenses can be highly effective. In a two-week study, 20 individuals were asked to wear blue-light blocking glasses or regular glasses up to three hours before bedtime. Researchers learned that those who wore the blue-light glasses experienced a major boost to their mood and sleep, proof that by wearing blue light filtering glasses can help promote better sleep.Another four-week trial concluded similarly positive results: wearing blue light glasses in the evening a few hours before bedtime can help improve the circadian rhythm.
You can reduce your blue light intake to build better sleep habits by cutting back on using digital devices up to two to three hours before bedtime. If you absolutely can't go an entire evening without scrolling through TikTok (can't say we blame you), then try to activate the night mode function or dim the screens to help minimize blue light consumption.
Ready to take the steps towards a happier, healthier night's sleep? Book an appointment with one of our in-store stylists, and they'll gladly help you get fitted with the right frame and blue light filter.