The Curse of Technology: The Dreaded Blue Light
What do smartphones, tablets, television and computers all have in common? They emit manmade Blue Light which has been linked to digital eyestrain and headaches along with the disruption of melatonin, the hormone which encourages sleep!
If you spend significant amounts of time on a blue-light emitting device, like the one you're reading this article on, and experience eyestrain, headaches or difficulty sleeping, this post is for you!
It's been nearly 140 years since artificial light entered our world. The use of light after sundown not only disrupts sleep as the body's circadian rhythm and melatonin production are thrown off, but research shows it may contribute to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity (source). Furthermore, most jobs require the majority of the day in front of a computer, tablet or smartphone contributing to eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision.
Now let's get one thing clear: Not all blue light is bad for you. In fact, sunlight contains the color spectrum from blue to red which creates white light. Lack of sunlight (including blue light) is actually a culprit for insomnia because if "we spend our time cooped up indoors, our eyes fail to take in the proper amount of light, and we never get an internal signal to sleep at night." Make sure you are getting plenty of breaks out in the sun and let your body and eyes take in some rays.
But in general, most of us are spending the majority of our days inside behind smart-device and not getting our daytime blue light from the sun!
In this day and age, how can we combat these side effects from technology?
Option 1: Glasses
I'm going to discuss two different types of glasses, both of which I use in my daily life.
- Amber or Orange Lens Glasses
- Amber or Orange Glasses are known as the "blue light blockers" and have been proven to improve sleep when using them 3 hours prior to bed. While you can wear these anytime to block the blue light emissions they're not at all sexy, unless, I guess, if you're Bono?
- I own the cheap $8 pair from Amazon and use them nightly about 2-3 hours before I want to go to sleep
- There is also an $89 pair available which look more comfortable and stylish, but there's just no way around the amber color
- Yellow Lens Glasses from Phonetic
- Yellow Lenses help block the ultraviolet light (not all blue light) which causes digital eyestrain and headaches
- These are much more stylish and comfortable for daytime use
- Can be customized to fit any prescription (bi-focal and progressive lenses coming!)
Option 2: Apps
- Night Shift
- This option, available on iOS devices (Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift) automatically shifts the colors of your display to a warmer (yellow-er) spectrum with the sunset, or whichever time you choose to schedule it
- Android's can download Night Shift Blue Light Filter or Twilight for the same features
- An app like f.lux is available to download to your computer which provides the same ability control the light of your screen with the time of day (sunlight during the day and warmer at night)
I kind of use a combination of all of these. While I have the night shift set up on my phone (thanks Hannah!), I have no control over emissions from television or the artificial light used wherever I might happen to be.
You can get orange light bulbs for your home, which I have in my daughter's closet because she wants to keep the light on at night, but for the most part, they don't provide much light and look kinda creepy if I'm being honest ;)
I choose to use Phonetic glasses during the day because they help alleviate eyestrain and headaches caused from the regular use of computer and smart-devices. They are comfortable, and farrrrr more attractive than the amber glasses! And at some point, I simply couldn't get any work done if I wore amber glasses in public as they invited too many questions; they are more of a spectacle, haha, get it? ;)
Phonetic glasses are designed to help filter the High Energy Visible (HEV) light, with a focus on the violet blue spectrum, to reduce glare, digital eyestrain and fatigue.
The lenses themselves are made from a material typically used for prescription lenses and have a light yellow tint, which is hardly noticeable.
The lenses can be made to fit any prescription, or as with my case, no prescription. And guess what, if you don't like them, Phonetic offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Plus, as my readers, you get a sweet discount using the code JANNY10 at checkout.
I'll still use my cheap amber glasses starting around 7pm until bedtime as the studies have shown they block more blue light and therefore, less interference with my precious melatonin production and sleep.
The Phonetics glasses I chose was the Robin in Tortoise.