The sun's light has a spectrum of colors that all affect us in different ways. Ultraviolet rays can tan us or damage our skin, depending on the amount of time we're exposed to them, but we also need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D.
As with all things, the poison is in the dose - too much and suddenly you’re looking for ways to heal sunburn quickly!
Blue light is a wavelength of light that is in the middle of the visible spectrum and naturally occurs in sunlight. The problem with too much blue light exposure comes up because most of our electronics emit light in this wavelength. Since we're on phones, computers or tablets most of our days, this drastically increases our exposure to blue light.
Blue light is more energetic than slower wavelengths like red and part of the problem is that our eyes aren't great at blocking it out. When our nighttime light came primarily from candles or fireplaces, it didn't affect our ability to sleep very much. Since modern living necessitates so much exposure to blue light, this means far more of it is hitting our retinas and laying the groundwork for potential problems later on.
Though there are many problems with too much blue light exposure, we're going to look at three of the biggest hazards of blue light exposure for your family, as well as some simple life hacks to reduce your exposure to blue light.
Since your eyes can't block blue light as completely as they do UV light, lots of blue light radiation hits your retina. Over time, this can contribute to macular degeneration which could eventually lead to blindness.
If you work at a job where blue light exposure through computer screens is unavoidable - and this is true for many of us - you can invest in blue light blocking glasses. Blue light blocking glasses are small miracles that gained popularity as a way to reduce digital eye strain and avoid disrupted sleep. They are designed to prevent blue light from penetrating your retinas, which means if you wear it while using digital screens, your exposure is drastically reduced.
Read about the difference between the day and night lenses, here.
As we get near our normal bedtime, our bodies release melatonin to help ease our bodies into a sleep-receptive state. The energetic nature of blue light not only delays melatonin release, which in turn delays sleep, but it also impacts the quality of sleep we get. This is especially impactful on teens and kids, for whom screentime can seriously hinder quality sleep.
By creating a curfew of sorts for gadgets 1-2 hours before bedtime, you can lessen or prevent the negative consequences of blue light on our sleep patterns. This means limiting screen time before bed for your kids but also turning off your own phone off or at the very least, turning on your phone's blue light filter. If you're used to using your phone in bed without a filter, or you let your kids use their tablets right before bed, you will have noticeable results within two weeks of implementing a blue-light curfew. Better sleep and less grumpiness is a fantastic return on investment in reduced screen time.
Have a peek at Dr. Colleen Carroll’s (aka Screen Addiction Expert) healthy screen time recommendations, here.
Working on a computer all day can strain your eyes, and it's typically due in large part to the amount of blue light you're exposed to. The scattering of the high-energy blue light waves creates a lot of visual clutter that reduces natural contrast that makes your eyes focus harder. This leads to headaches, eye discomfort, and tiredness.
Some monitors have blue light filters on them but the majority do not. You can buy a filter for your monitor, or invest in blue light blocking lenses to significantly reduce eye strain.
Turn your workspace into a productive haven with these 5 easy solutions to prevent eye strain.
A healthy lifestyle includes 7-8 hours of sleep a night, even more for kids and teens. Limiting screen time produces better sleep quality and in turn, will help your children function better at school. Better sleep also aids in keeping weight in check, so consider implementing a screen ban before bed.
While modern life necessitates screen exposure, proper protection can improve your vision, your sleep, and your overall health. While limiting blue light can solve ALL the problems of a moody child or a grumpy spouse, getting more sleep can definitely help!
Yes, please! Gimme a Day and Night Blue Light Protection Set.