Updated: Mar 1, 2019
My partner and I visited the hot springs this winter in Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado. While soaking in the medicinal mountain water, we met a naturopath named Darcy. We discussed many topics but what stood out the most to me from our conversation was her concern about overexposure to artificial blue light. After our conversation, I did some of my own research and purchased blue blocking glasses. I noticed improved sleep, more ease waking in the morning and more energy. So what is blue light and why wear blue blocking glasses? Read on to find out!
The sun emits blue light among red, orange, yellow and green rays. The combined spectrum of all these colors is what we see as sunlight. Shades of red light have longer wavelengths and emit less energy than the shades of blue light. Blue light rays are shorter wavelengths and higher energy. Sunlight used to be only source of blue light until the introduction of fluorescent and LED/LCD lighting. Blue light from the sun boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function and elevates mood. Exposure of blue light during the day helps regulate our circadian rhythm (waking and sleeping cycles). Instead of only being exposed to blue light from the sun, our society constantly takes in blue light from flat screen TVs, laptops, tablets, iPhones, other devices and light bulbs. Too much blue light after the sun sets throws off the circadian rhythm. It can lead to sleepless nights and fatigue during the day. Blue light penetrates the retina, unlike UV rays which are almost completely blocked by the cornea and lens of the the eyeball- less than 1% of UV rays reach the retina. Too much exposure to blue light can lead to strained vision and eventually vision loss. More research is needed to determine how much is “too much” exposure to blue light from the sun or man made devices. (Hetting, 2017).
I’ve used blue blocking glasses for about a month and here is what I noticed-
I started out wearing blue blockers only in the evenings while my partner and I watched Game of Thrones. I noticed more ease falling asleep the first night. After a week it was significantly easier to wake at 5:30a for my morning yoga practice. I am working to use blue blockers anytime I look at a screen, even if the sun is out. I feel less tired throughout the day, and more ready for bed when it was time to rest.
Screen Time Awareness
The act of putting on my blue blocking glasses every time I go to use a screen has made me hyper aware of how much screen time is in my life. I realized I turn to a screen anytime I am bored or want to distract my mind. I am much more present with my partner and our 2 year old daughter because I spend less time swiping. I am slowly retraining my mind to grab for something other than my phone during lulls in the day. Less screen time has opened up time in my day for things I enjoy like tarot spreads and learning new skills like sewing. I am much more intentional about putting my phone down and doing something else now that I use blue blockers.
Where to get blue blockers
I got my blue blockers for $35 on amazon. They are not the most attractive with amber lenses but block all blue light and I do not mind because I spend most of my time at home.
For twice the price you can get blue blockers with a much lighter tint that block 65% of blue light. These $70 blue blocking glasses by GUNNAR would be much less noticeable if you wanted to wear them in public. Finally, Felix Gray is a designer brand of blue blockers beginning at $95. Felix Gray offers un-tinted, anti-glare professional glasses that block the higher range of the blue light spectrum in prescription and non prescription lenses.
GUNNAR glasses are the top image and my favorite frames by Felix Gray are on the bottom.
Hetting, G. (2017, November) 7 Blue Light Facts. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm
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