At this point in our digital age, you most likely have heard tell that blue light can be detrimental to sleep habits and overall health. But before we dive into how blue light affects individuals in both positive and negative ways, let’s first clarify what exactly blue light is and where it can be found.
Put simply, blue light itself is a color on the visible light spectrum (meaning it is visible to the human eye), and it’s emitted from both natural and artificial sources.
Your eyes intake natural blue light everyday when you step outside or look out the window. As light from the Sun travels through the Earth’s atmosphere, the short and energetic wavelengths belonging to blue light collide with air molecules in the atmosphere, resulting in what we see as a blue sky. So in its natural form, our primary source of blue light is the Sun.
Your eyes are also exposed to blue light from artificial sources like computer screens, smart phones, tablets, TVs, and certain fluorescent and LED light bulbs. The LED lighting in smart devices like phones, computers, and tablets emit a strong blue light, which helps to create a bright and clear image on their screens.
The blue light’s wavelength is one of the shortest on the spectrum, meaning it is one of the highest-energy wavelengths as well. Our bodies use natural blue light to cue our sleep patterns and alertness, explaining why we have more energy during the day. But the human eye cannot protect itself from prolonged blue light exposure. And when intaking blue light for extended periods of time from artificial sources in addition to the natural sources our bodies have already evolved around, we begin to see negative mental and physical health side effects.
Check out our post on How Blue Light Is Affecting You to learn more about the negative impact blue light can have on your health, and discover preventative steps you can take to protect not just your eyes, but your overall well being.
Many blue-light blocking glasses you can buy also claim to help reduce eye strain.
What are blue-light blocking glasses?
Blue light blocking glasses have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light, and in some cases UV light, from getting through. That means if you use these glasses when looking at a screen, especially after dark, they can help reduce exposure to blue light waves that can keep you awake.
Most are meant to be worn during the day while working in front of a computer, and at night to prevent the blue light from screens from keeping us awake.
Should I get blue-light blocking glasses?
It depends — do you want or need to look at your phone after dark, and having trouble falling asleep?
There is ample evidence that blue light affects when our bodies create melatonin, so if you use screens long after sundown, these glasses might help stop you from staying up later than you want.