Clearing Up the Skies On Blue Light
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
We often associate blue light as the "bad guy". But blue light when used correctly can actually do some wonderful things. Let's first talk about blue light. What is blue light? Why is it "bad"?
Blue light is visible light, that humans see as blue. This type of light has short wavelengths, meaning it emits high energy. Our multiple devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets also uses this type of light which is why it's been advised that we limit usage before going to bed.
Our bodies naturally use blue light from the sun to regulate our circadian rhythm. Have you noticed that you feel better on days when you spend more time outside? Or have improved energy and mood during sunny days? This is because the sun has an effect on regulating neurotransmitters through a molecule called melanopsin. Getting properly timed bright light has been shown to be effective in waking up earlier, improving energy levels, increasing productivity, and treating depression.
To help with this effect, we have something called bright light therapy, which is used to help people wake up earlier or shift their sleeping schedules.
Not only is bright light good for helping people wake up earlier, but it is also an essential part of healthy living:
Blue light has also shown to have an effect in preventing near-sightedness in children
Out of all the colours (wavelengths) of the sun, blue has been shown to be most effective at regulating circadian rhythms. The blog post on Melanopsin is a great place to begin understanding these effects. According to Health Harvard, blue is 2 times more effective than green at suppressing melatonin. Which means it can easily change our circadian rhythm.
Of course, getting blue light at the wrong time during the day can also be bad for your sleep. The best way to imagine this is if you are camping out at night and suddenly the sun came up at 11 PM. That's the effect smartphones are having on our brains and circadian rhythms. So maybe we should stop watching Netflix before going to bed?
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side What can we do about it?
The science is that in modern-day living, we do not get enough blue light exposure during the day, and too much blue light at night, messing up our circadian rhythms. If you want to take the first step, many great blue-blocking glasses are available, however, note that you should only wear these glasses 3-4 hours before you go to bed. There are also softwares like f.lux and the nightshift mode on Apple devices that naturally reduces the blue light during the evenings. If you'd like to get extra blue light during the day, check out Lumos Lux Light Therapy Glasses which can add enriched blue light for your brain in the mornings and selectively block out blue light at night.
Some similar products on the market such as AYO, Re-Timer, and Philips Go Blu Light are also great options to improve your energy levels, get better sleep, and improve mood. However, whenever possible, go outside and soak up the sun!
Blue light is healthy and is an essential part of your biology
The timing of blue light determines your sleep and productivity rhythms, try to get as much blue light as possible during the day, and reduce blue light at night
Blue blocking is important, but only use them 3-4 hours before you go to bed
If you want to add some blue light into your day, feel free to check out blue light therapy at Lumos Lux
As a final note, go outside and soak up the sun!