People today frequently use computers and often have vision problems as a result. In addition, using your computer and gadgets all the time can lead to eye strain or eye pain because you are exposed to blue light.
Our monitors expose us to the full spectrum of light wavelengths that they emit. So you see 'cool' colors such as blues and greens and 'warm' colors such as reds and oranges.
Additionally, blue light can affect your sleep hormone levels at night. Therefore, exposure to blue light close to bedtime reduces sleep quality and makes it harder to fall asleep.
The good news is that there are several ways to combat blue light.
What is blue light? It may be something you have heard of before, but do you know how it affects your health? For example, too much sun exposure can harm our health, but what about artificial light? Blue light is a form of artificial light by electronic devices such as TVs, laptops, and smartphones. It can boost alertness and help us stay productive, but too much exposure can harm our health.
Blue light is a high-energy visible (HEV) or ultraviolet (UV) light with a wavelength between 380 and 500 nanometers (nm). Due to this, blue light has a shorter wavelength and higher energy than UVB light, absorbed mainly by the ozone layer on our planet. In contrast to UVA light, it can be filtered out by the sun's atmosphere throughout the day. The shorter wavelength of blue light makes it scatter more readily than other visible light wavelengths, which is why it's present in the sky on sunny days. In addition, as technology has improved, more energy-efficient means of producing light have been developed; these include LED lights and fluorescent lights. Lighting like this is now found everywhere- in homes, offices, or even on cars.
We let technology take over our lives; we spend a lot of time looking at electronic devices. Since we're exposed to blue light for long periods, it's only natural that our bodies are affected by it. For example, dopamine, also known as the pleasure hormone, is released due to the surge of energy caused by blue light. However, exposure to blue light for too long can cause serious health problems like cancer and heart disease. In addition, blue light has been associated with oxidative stress, leading to macular degeneration. Sleep disorders like delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), insomnia, and poor quality sleep have also been associated.
Have you ever felt that you weren't getting enough sleep, despite sleeping for the recommended amount of hours? If so, you might be experiencing the effects of blue light. Blue light is a type of light emitted by electronics that can negatively affect your sleep.
Blue light belongs to the visible light spectrum. Daytime vision is made possible by blue light emitted by the sun. LED and fluorescent lights also emit blue light. Electronic devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and televisions, can also emit an eerie blue glow during the evening and nighttime hours.
Our electronic devices emit blue light, which activates photoreceptors in our eyes and suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin contributes to your circadian rhythm (aka sleep-wake cycle). In turn, this suppression causes you to stay up later than usual, leading to poor sleep quality or insomnia. In addition, due to fatigue and tiredness from lack of sleep, you may find it challenging to get out of bed the following day.
You now know that exposure to blue light during the night and the day can harm your sleep quality. By turning off electronic devices or wearing blue-blocking glasses, you can limit your exposure to blue light before bedtime. This will give you a better chance to fall asleep and get the eight hours of sleep you need so you can wake up refreshed in the morning.
Among the most popular apps to reduce blue light on your screen, f.lux mimics the natural tones and daylight variations. It makes your computer screen look like your indoor lighting. The software color shifts to a warmer amber hue at night to match your location's time of day.
F.lux is a free blue light exposure protection app you can install on your desktop to filter out the blue light from your monitor. The app automatically shifts the color to a reddish amber as soon as the sun goes down. F.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day.
With f.lux, you can adjust the display's color temperature to reduce the amount of blue light emitted. In addition, a sunrise and sunset simulation can be set up using the program. This free app also sets a controlled setting to suit your tastes.
When you've ever seen someone with a particularly yellow-looking computer screen display, they might have been using f.lux.
With iOS 13, Apple has introduced its adaptive color temperature feature "Night Shift" and system-wide Darkroom Mode. Night Shift, like f.lux is another great blue light filter app option you can try out on your smartphone or tablet. Night Shift automatically adjusts the colors on iPhone screens to warmer hues when the sun sets and gets dark.
Blue light exposure problem solved! Right?
Here is the truth about blue light filter apps like f.lux and Night Shift, and what you can do to solve this issue.
We all know the problem with blue light exposure is real. All the blue light from your devices is throwing off your circadian rhythm - a 24-hour internal clock running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.
Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits, like going to bed at night and waking up in the morning around the same times every day (including weekends).
When things get in the way, like jet lag, daylight savings time, or a compelling show on TV that keeps you up into the wee hours of the morning, you can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
This can be why you feel out of sorts and struggle to focus.
Additionally, lack of sleep can have other very serious health consequences. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of these health problems:
Find out how the effects of blue light can increase your risk of cancer here.
As for f.lux and other the blue light filter apps, they don't work as a proper filter. Their lack of efficiency is because they can only reduce the blue light instead of filtering or blocking it.
Because ALL screens have this problem called backlight bleeding, your monitor will still "bleed" light from the backlight and around the edges. That excess light isn't picked up by f.lux, Night Shift, or any other blue light apps, as they are essentially offering a software solution to a hardware problem.
The problem with f.lux is it can't eliminate but only reduce blue light exposure. Therefore, your eyes can still get strained even when using f.lux, and you'll still be exposing yourself to blue light and negatively impacting your sleep.
Unfortunately, that's not the only problem we've identified with f.lux and other blue light filter apps. Blue light is released by our smartphones and computers and by our TVs and all artificial light sources. While these apps are certainly a step in the right direction, they fail to solve the problem. In fact, this study indicates that "less than 1 lux of monochromatic light elicited a significant suppression of nocturnal melatonin".
To reevaluate your lighting strategies is no longer an option but a necessity to ensure maximum health. And this is what excited us the most. We needed a better blue light exposure solution than f.lux could offer.
Protect your eyes from harmful blue light emitted by computer screens, smartphone screens, and TV screens with blue light blocking glasses. Wearing blue light glasses can help prevent eye strain and improve your sleep. In addition, researchers have found that wearing blue light filtering glasses before bedtime can lead to better and more good night's sleep.
Blue light glasses filter the amount of blue light reaching your eyes instead of changing its color. As a result, blue light blocking glasses reduce the amount of high-energy visible blue light exposed to both your screen and external sources.
It is not always easy to find the right pair of glasses that can block out all the blue light without being too dark or uncomfortable. Finding the right pair of blue light glasses can be overwhelming, especially when hundreds to choose from. To choose the best blue light blocking glasses, you should keep in mind your own preferences as well as an understanding of how they work.
At Swanwick, we believe sleep is crucial! And our mission is to help you achieve it. We don't do things by halves. To prove it, we created our Swannies® Blue Light Blocking Glasses, our high quality sunglasses to not only filter but block all the blue light in your space.
You can wear your Swannies at night (at least one hour before going to sleep) to protect your eyes from all the blue light in LED emitting street lamps while watching LED electronic screens, at baseball games, or anywhere blue light exposure can be an issue. There's increasing scientific evidence that blue light may not just damage your sleep but your eyes as well. The simple color shift provided by blue light filter apps is not enough to prevent such damage. If you're already wearing glasses, it might as well be Swannies. That way, you're guaranteed healthy eyes and a good night's sleep! Win-win!
Here are 10 tips to improve your sleep hygiene. When you sleep better, you feel better, right?
That's not to say your f.lux doesn't offer any protection from blue light exposure. F.lux has its place and has shown itself to be quite useful, but generally only for those who don't have the premium protection that a quality pair of blue blockers like Swannies will afford. If you're wondering why you still haven't achieved the peaceful sleep you're dreaming about, forget f.lux [or at least don't rely on it exclusively] and stick with Swannies.