What is Blue Light and How it’s Affecting your Sleep
What Is Blue Light and How It’s Affecting Your Sleep?
How many hours do you think you look at a screen? Five, six or more? Would you believe that it is nearly 11 hours per day?! Between our mobile phone, computer, tablet and television, we are spending more time staring at screens than we are sleeping.
It’s not surprising that this much screen time is having detrimental impacts on our health. We are not only missing out on moments with our friends, family and our community, we are causing ourselves chronic health issues through regular lack of sleep. However, when everything in our lives revolves around a phone or computer, how do we prevent the effect of blue light? The answer is simpler than you might think… Blue light-blocking glasses. Companies have traditionally used a yellow or orange tinted lens to combat the blue light. Fortunately Baxter Blue now uses a clear lens so we can wear their glasses anywhere.
What Is Blue Light?
Visible light is made up of a series of coloured waves. Blue light is one of the shortest wavelengths and it is closest to UV light on the visible light scale. It is important we have a certain amount of blue light every day as it boosts our attention, reaction time and mood. It also stabilises our sleep cycle through our sleep hormone, melatonin.
Natural blue light is emitted by the sun and artificial blue light is in lit screens and energy efficient fluorescent and LED lighting. Because blue light has one of the shortest wavelengths, it is high energy and has a tendency to flicker. This repeated flickering causes eye strain and makes it difficult for you to focus. People often find they begin to get headaches when spending too much time on the computer and their vision becomes blurry.
To receive a healthy amount of blue light daily, we simply need to step outside. However, if you are receiving too much of this light or at the wrong types of day, it will shift your circadian rhythm, affecting your sleep and overall health. This regular shift in your sleep cycle affects your quality of sleep and can have detrimental effects on both your short and long term health.
How to Know If You are Getting Poor Sleep?
Generally, we know straight away if we are not getting enough quality sleep. The common signs we notice include feeling tired and unmotivated, struggling to concentrate or stay focused and craving sugar, caffeine and snacks. However, you may not realise that these are not the only effects of too little sleep. Additional signs you are sleep deprived include reoccurring headaches, struggling with self-discipline and the ability to make decisions, experiencing poor memory, slow reaction time, feeling emotional and having a lower immune system. Over a period of time, these daily signs and symptoms have the potential to turn into chronic health concerns.
How Does Lack of Sleep Lead to Chronic Health Conditions?
Harvard Health tells us that we should be sleeping seven to nine hours per night to avoid sleep deprivation. When we are sleepy we often struggle to concentrate, feel irritable and are only thinking about when we’re heading back to bed. However, a study of human sleep deprivation by the University of Chicago found that when people received only four to six hours of sleep for six consecutive nights, they could no longer gauge how sleepy they had become. This was determined by their self-performance tests, versus their regularly declining performance scores of cognitive, memory and reaction time tests.
Whilst we may be in the bed for the recommended eight hours per night, disrupted sleep patterns can be the cause of lack of sleep. By using blue lights around bed time, the body’s sleep hormone melatonin is suppressed, resulting in sleep deprivation over time. Regular sleep deprivation can be the cause of serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, weight gain, reaction time, stroke and memory loss.
What Can We Do To Improve Our Sleep For Our Best Health?
Reducing your screen time is the best solution for your health. Get back to nature, spend quality time with a friend or family, read a book, play a board game or complete a puzzle! However, it is inevitable that we will still be receiving blue light from our computers, phones and tablets for more hours a day than what is healthy. Rest assured, you can protect your eyes from blue light all day by wearing blue-blocking glasses. Baxter Blue has created blue-blocking glasses that are clear, versus yellow, making them stylish to wear on the train and in the office. As kids are in front of screens more often than ever, Baxter Blue also has glasses available for them too!
By incorporating small changes to our lives, we can live healthier and more fulfilling lives. Pop outside for that critical Vitamin D and a healthy amount of blue light every day. Then encourage healthy eyes, concentration, sleep patterns and long term health by wearing Baxter Blue’s blue light-blocking glasses when you’re in front of screens and around energy efficient lighting.
We hope you have learned a few more ways you can improve your health and wellness on a daily basis. Let me know your questions in the comments below and other topics you might like me to share tips on.
If you’re excited to try a pair of Baxter Blue’s blue light blocking glasses use our special Live Love Nourish community code CASEYLEE for 10% OFF.
Yours in Health,
Naturopath, nutritionist & founder of Live Love Nourish
Harvard Health Publishing by Harvard Medical School:
Australian Government, Department of Health: