By: Emily Oberg
Everyday, more and more health experts are cautioning against the negative effects that blue light has on our eyes, brain and more specifically, our sleeping patterns. We’re all exposed to blue light on a daily basis, with the main source coming from the sun. Other sources of blue light include our phones, computers, TV’s as well as most indoor lighting like LED and fluorescent.
During the day, blue light is necessary as it’s responsible for regulating our body’s circadian rhythm, telling us to wake up, focus and be alert. But at night, this type of light not only disrupts that rhythm, it keeps us up by suppressing the production of melatonin in our body. Melatonin is key for having a good night’s sleep. When we aren’t sleeping enough, it throws our entire brain and body into flux. Poor sleep has been linked to diabetes, obesity, disease and cancer. It also makes us feel and look terrible.
It’s not hard to understand why it’s so important to avoid our screens in the evening. We’re all guilty of scrolling through our phones before bed, or watching our favorite series in order to fall asleep. But consider avoiding screens for at least 2-3 hours before bed and if you can, leave your devices outside of your room while you sleep. Nothing ruins your sleeping pattern like waking up in the middle of the night to check your phone. By doing this, you’re telling your brain that it’s day time and that you should be waking up, even though it might be 2 or 3 AM.
Blue light is also harmful to our eyes because it penetrates all the way back to our retina, damaging its cells which can eventually lead to blindness. It may sound extreme, but when you consider how much time we all spend staring at screens all day long, it’s not hard to imagine.
Some other precautions you can take in order to protect yourself against the harmful effects of blue light include:
-Wearing blue blocking glasses. Lenses that block out only blue light have been proven to protect our eyes against its effects, especially at night. You can have any eyewear store put blue blocking lenses into your frames. You can also buy blue blockers online, but they aren’t very cute.
-Turning your phone on night mode from 6 pm to 8 am
-Installing a blue light filter on your computer (I use one called Iris)