Seeing too much blue light at the wrong time of day is probably not great for us.
The concept of avoiding blue light after sunset has become much more mainstream in recent years, but actively taking steps to do so on a regular basis is still regarded as somewhat unusual.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the science behind why blocking blue light after dark could help to support good overall health.
We’re also going to break down some of the best ways to block out blue light in the modern world and bring you some comments from experts in the field.
Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at the problem of blue light in the modern world and what can be done to help counter its potential effects.
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How Does Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?
In case you didn’t know, our bodies are driven by something called a ‘Circadian Rhythm’. The Circadian Rhythm controls a huge number of bodily processes, including sleep-wake cycles, hormones, blood pressure, mental function and more.
The Circadian Rhythm is what’s also commonly known as your ‘body clock’. It is very much driven by the sun-up, sun-down process that takes place every day.
At its most basic level, when the sun is down, our Circadian Rhythm helps us to feel tired and sleep, and when the sun is up, it helps us to feel energized and awake.
There is much more to it than that, but the basic way that our Circadian Rhythm has a huge impact on our daily lives when it comes to sleep.
If you can cast your mind back to a world without electric lights and technology, our human ancestors only really had access to one type of light after dark – fire.
Fire is generally redder and yellower in color, and so the idea of seeing blue light after sunset has been a foreign one for most of human history.
Since the invention of the electric lightbulb, humans have been prolonging their evenings. These days, it’s highly common to see blue light from a host of different sources after sunset. This includes the blue light emitted by mobile phones, televisions and computers, but it also extends to the lights in our home, subway lights and even car headlights.
So, why is blue light after sunset bad?
Up until fairly recently in human history, daytime sunlight was the main source of blue light. In simple terms, blue light tells our body that the sun is up and that we should be awake.
Melatonin is the hormone that’s secreted by the body to regulate night and day cycles. Simply put, melatonin help us to feel tired and fall asleep.
Melatonin secretion is very much driven by light. Our bodies secrete melatonin after dark, and stop secreting it after sunrise in the morning.
In the modern world, many of us do not see much natural sunlight in the first part of the day, and so it’s not uncommon for our Circadian Rhythm’s to be pretty messed up (or at least sub-optimal).
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with this phenomenon, as most digital products now have features to help reduce blue light exposure. For example, for the last few years, Apple products have featured a ‘Night Shift’ mode, which changes the color of your screen from a bluer shade to a more amber shade after sunset.
Using the night shift mode on your electronic devices is certainly a good start, but what else can you do to reduce the amount of blue light you’re exposed to after dark? Using a pair of Blue Blocking Glasses could be a great place to start.
How To Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses for Sleep
Blue Light Blocking Glasses are a special type of glasses that have lenses designed to specifically filter out blue light after dark.
The idea behind them is that you put them on after the sun has set outside, and go about your normal life.
It’s not realistic to live in pitch black or just red light after dark in the modern world. Using Blue Light Blocking glasses is a great way to ensure that you can reduce blue light exposure after dark but also get on with your daily life.
So, how do you use Blue Light Blocking Glasses? You simply start wearing them after sunset every day, and take them off just before going to bed.
The idea that doing this may help to ensure that you’re body is properly synced with the sun-up, sun-down process.
Other Ways to Block Blue Light
As we mentioned above, many digital devices offer special night modes which will tint the screen towards the redder part of the color spectrum.
This is a great place to start, but from our experience, devices in night mode still do emit quite a considerable amount of blue light.
It’s also worth paying attention to the lighting in your home. Energy-saving lightbulbs are a particularly bad offender when it comes to blue light sources in the home. Many normal lightbulbs also emit quite a lot of blue light too.
As long as it’s safe to do so, you could switch some of your standard lightbulbs for candles after dark. Candles give off a more amber glow and produce a type of light (like fire) that humans have been seeing at night for thousands of years.
We spoke to leading UK biohacker Tim Gray about why he recommends that people actively block out blue light after sunset.
“My number one tip for improving sleep is to wear Blue Blocking Glasses after sunset.
“Blue light stops us producing our own melatonin and is everywhere in the day. Evolutionary speaking, we’re not supposed to have blue light after sunset. Sure, there’d be fire, which is a redder color, but there wouldn’t be so much blue light.
“Blue light wakes us up, so if we’re playing with our phone and blue light is going into our eyes, of course, we’re not going to produce melatonin, which is what helps us sleep.
“If you wear Blue Blocking Glasses – mimicking a natural environment in an unnatural world – they block that blue light out.
“You can’t live in pitch black, but Blue Blocking Glasses will block out the blue colors of the spectrum, which means that you’ll produce your own melatonin better, which means you’ll sleep better.”
Anything Else to Consider?
Of course, avoiding blue light after dark is just one way in which you can try to improve your sleep.
There are many other factors to consider if you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep. They include making sure that your room is the right temperature, using blackout blinds and ensuring that you have a good bedtime routine.
If you’re looking for more tips to help improve your sleep in general, be sure to check out our interview with sleep expert and author Nick Littlehales.
Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts
So, that brings us to the end of our look at how you can use Blue Light Blocking Glasses.
We’ve walked you through the basic things you need to know about how much of an important role sunlight plays in our health overall.
We have pointed out how blue light tells our body that it should be up and awake, and that seeing blue light after sunset could have some potential downsides.
We’ve also explained how using a pair of Blue Light Blocking glasses can help you to block out blue light after dark.
Blue Light Blocking glasses have something of a reputation for not being particularly stylish. We’re going to be reviewing some of the best brands of Blue Light Blocking glasses in the coming weeks, so be sure to stay tuned for our recommendations.