With everything that’s going on in the world right now, people’s lives have been turned upside down. Pretty much all of us have had to make some changes in our everyday life. From going to the supermarket for essentials to having virtual meetups with your friends on a zoom call – life is very different at the moment and no one is really sure how long this is going to last.
Some of us have been lucky enough to carry on working from the comfort of our own homes. Those who aren’t, have had to find ways to pass the time, entertain the kids and generally deal with the situation.
This means that for most people, they will be spending a lot more time looking at a screen. Whether it’s that Friday night zoom video chat with the girls, bingeing Netflix series or learning new recipes from YouTube, all of this is more time spent staring at a screen – something that wasn’t happening a few weeks ago.
So what? Does that really matter?
Just because it’s not a book, your screen time can still be educational… and following an online workout is exercise, so what’s the problem?
All of these devices, the TV… laptop… iPad… phone… they all emit blue light.
Blue light exposure hasn’t been around that long, so we still don’t know the long term damage it can cause – it’s a relatively new concept. But what we do know, is that blue light affects your sleep… and therefore your health.
The thing is, we all know that these blue-light emitting devices are necessary in today’s world – you could even go as far as saying they’re vital and not only from an entertainment point of view… Most businesses have an online presence and many rely on it for their business to function, especially in the current climate.
So how can we control how much blue light we are exposed to?
The obvious answer is to stay off the devices, or at least reduce the time we spend staring at the screens. But, really, who wants to do that?
Most laptops and phones now come with a ‘night mode’ which ‘switches off’ the blue light… but this can often give the screen a yellow tint, which isn’t ideal if you’re editing photos or doing something which relies on colour.
Another way is to wear ‘blue light glasses’ which block the blue light from entering your eyes. These glasses don’t have as much of a noticeable tint as the ‘night mode’ and it almost looks as if you’re wearing clear glasses.
But how does blue light actually affect sleep?
Blue light affects the body’s circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock that tells us when to sleep and when to wake up. Small amounts of blue light are emitted from the sun and other natural sources which contributes to our sleep schedule. However, too much of it at the wrong time means our circadian rhythm changes.
Blue light exposure shortens the length of time you sleep for and causes you to wake up more frequently in the night too, meaning you’re much more tired the next day. It’s essentially like the blue light tells our brains that it’s not time to sleep, so we stay awake. Blue light has also been linked to sleep issues by delaying the release of melatonin – the hormone that induces sleep.
You might not think that it’s that important, but sleep is much more important than you think. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of a number of health conditions including obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Not to mention, if you’re tired, you’re going to struggle to operate at 100% whether that’s at work, home, or even driving.
So by wearing blue light glasses and filtering out the light from entering our eyes, sleep patterns and sleep quality can return to normal.
If your job requires you to stare at a screen all day long, I’m sure at some point you’ve experienced headaches and eye strain, right? I know I have… Blue light glasses have also been said to reduce headaches and eye strain too.
When you think of blue light glasses you might picture those yellow-tinted ugly specs. You’ll be pleased to know that the designs have now improved massively – and there are actually lots of different styles popping up from retailers.
So next time you’re unwinding on the sofa watching Netflix, catching up with your favourite Youtuber, reading an ebook or scrolling social media, pop on your blue light glasses and see if you notice how much quicker you drift off to sleep afterwards.