Technology and our growing use of electronics has led us to increase exposure of artificial light during the hours of darkness. This is a serious and often ignored health risk. Light carries many wavelengths and believed to be particularly disruptive to both sleep disorders and metabolic disorders.
Blue light wavelengths found in both natural and artificial light effects us in very different ways. Under the sun light, they provide us with the benefit to boost our mood, increase our attention, and improve our reaction time. With the red wavelengths from the sun, blue is balanced to reset our internal clock. Then the artificial energy-efficient light we are exposed to leaves us to more blue light than needed. Therefore, with the increased attention and energy at a time when we should be winding down and preparing for a restorative night of sleep, our internal body clock becomes confused as a result of continued use of computer, smartphone screens, energy-saving light bulbs, grocery store and street lamps..
Reduction of blue light is necessary to keep our health. The use of blue light blocking glasses is a way to counteract this continued exposure to blue light. Here are some reasons that it is recommended:
1.Regulate Melatonin Production
Melatonin is a natural hormone our body produces in the vital role of controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. Production of melatonin starts at sunset and remains high for 12 hours throughout the night. On the contrary, the exposure to daylight will cause the hormone production level to fall where it will prep your body for a new day.
2.Enjoy Better Sleep
Melatonin will naturally set one’s body for a better night’s sleep. In a small group study: one group of adults were given the blue-blocking glasses vs one group of adults were given the UV light blocking glasses. The result was those who had the blue-blocking pair enjoyed significant improvement in sleep quality and mood. Note: even a small amount of light can cause problem.
3.Control Cortisol Release
The stress hormone, cortisol (controlling blood sugar and blood pressure) is usually released in the morning with levels falling throughout the day and night. Some study suggests the increased production of cortisol due to exposure to light during the middle of the night.
4.Reduce the Risk of Serious Illness
Since blue light exposure effects our night sleep, therefore our body’s internal clock and the release of our hormones. It is of no surprise that this can lead us to some serious health conditions such as:
Altered internal clock can increase blood sugar and reduce a hormone called leptin which regulates the feeling of fullness after eating. Additionally, it is thought that lower melatonin levels are linked with cancer.
5.Protect Your Eyes
Blue-blocking eye glasses prevents damage done to the eyes by protecting a fatty acid called DHA in the retina. Healthy DHA levels ensures proper retinal function, the damage from bright light exposure, and the oxidative stress found in those with eye diseases.
6.Manage Shift Work Patterns
The circadian rhythms of night shift workers are disrupted in melatonin production. Consequently are at a higher level of risk for cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, and obesity. For them, wearing a blue blocking glasses will help regulate their melatonin production as well as their internal body clock.
7.Treat Mania in Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar, a popular mental health condition, characterized by extremes in mood ranging from emotional highs (mania/ hypomania) to depression. A small study showed improvements in bipolar disorder individuals' sleep with a reduction of symptoms of mania for those who wore blue blocking glasses for just three days. The change was quickly noted since drug treatments typically take longer to take effect.
Blue blocking glasses are highly recommended for those who are shift workers, those who have difficulty sleeping, and those who have metabolic disorders or mental health issues. Blue blocking glasses are also known as ambler glasses. While they are great for filtering out blue light, they also block out other colors at the same time. Therefore, this is not recommended for indoors. If reading the computer or smartphone screen, it is recommended to wear them for 90 minutes before bed. Of course, feel free to put them on once darkness falls.