What to know about blue light
We all know its important to protect our eyes from the Suns UV rays, but have you ever thought about protecting them from the rays that come from technology?
Blue light is a type of light emitted naturally by the sun, but also artificially by LED lights, TVs, computers and phones. Like anything natural, our body benefits from blue light when it comes from the sun during the day, but did you know that artificial light at night might be doing our body harm?
During the day blue light can elevate your mood, maintain your attention levels and increase memory, but at night it can upset our body’s circadian rhythm, our internal body clock designed to regulate periods of wake and sleep over a 24 our period. This occurs as blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that tells the body it’s time to go to sleep, affecting how easy we fall asleep and how well we stay sleep.
A study by Harvard Research found that 6.5 hours of blue light exposure suppressed melatonin twice as much as any other light colour. It also found those who looked at blue light before bed slept for 16 minutes less and woke up more frequently than those who looked at other coloured lights.
Why is this bad? A lack of sleep can have negative effects on our body. It has been linked to increased risks of depression, diabetes, and even some cancers.
As well as affecting our sleep, blue light has also been linked to a new phenomenon called digital eyestrain. This is a term used to describe conditions resulting from the use of technology, including blurry vision, dry eyes and difficulty focusing.
New research is also suggesting blue light can damage our retina and contribute to macular degeneration, a condition that can lead to blindness.
Some tips to help protect against the harmful effects of blue light include:
- Avoid looking at screens 2-3 hours before bedtime
- If using screen at night, use an app that filters blue light
- Dim lighting by 50% at night time
- When sleeping keep technology in a different room – this means your not surrounded by any blue light whilst you sleep
- Expose yourself to as much sunlight during the day as possible
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