You’ve likely heard about blue light. On our phones and laptops, tablets and tvs…peeking out at us from all angles of the lives we lead. Ya, old news. But it affects how you live. Your quality of life. Your Health. Here’s why:
How you sleep – blue light interferes with our body’s natural productions of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy) with it, we can’t identify when our body is tired. When there isn’t enough melatonin in our system we don’t fall into REM sleep patterns (the very important deep sleep we need) and wake up still tired. In a study done at the University of Toronto it was found that using optical filters (like computer glasses) to protect from blue light worked as well as a widely-used sleeping pill in getting people to sleep faster, and more deeply.
Your circadian rhythms (what keeps your internal clock in line with your environment). – These once were solely regulated by the sun, but now with all the light sources available to us, our bodies don’t always know what to do.
Ideally, a decrease in light causes release of hormones (melatonin) to help us sleep and lets our body know to decrease our internal temperature. In the morning, sensing light signals our body to increase our internal temperature and releases other hormones (like cortisol) to get us up and moving. Exposure to screens and blue light throws our circadian rhythms off track and we can’t always tell what our bodies need.
Digital Eye Strain – What we do know is spending time in front of screens has a negative impact on our eyes. This causes headaches, dry eyes, Which is why (apart from the blue light concerns) we recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look up and focus on something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. This helps to relax overworked eye muscles, and combats dry eyes by reminding you to blink (being in front of a screen we don’t blink enough). Research is currently being done on the long term (months, years) effects of blue light on our eyes. Many flags have been raised about retinal damage and age related macular degeneration due to the compounding amount of time we spend in front of screens.
So what can YOU do?
Here’s our tips:
Blue Light glasses – get them and WEAR them! Block out the offending rays.
Turn your monitor at work and your phone so it switches to an evening mode once the workday is done (essentially changing the colors to less bright, warmer tones, lessening the amount of blue light that is emitted.). This is called different things on different devices: f.lux (software) and night shift mode (apple products) are some of the most common. A quick google search reveals oodles of options for your multiple devices.
Avoid it. Set limits to your screen time. Unplug in the evenings, and pick up a paperback instead. (Yes, even some of those e-readers have backlit, blue light emitting screens). Set alarms for when your time limit has been reached, or when it’s time to power down.
Wondering where to get those computer glasses? We’ve got them in store. Visit our online scheduler to get yours now.
Have you ever wondered how else you can keep your peepers sharp? Get our Top 5 Foods list to boost your optical health.
NCBI blue light and eye physiology study
Live Science Article
University of Toronto Study