What time of day should I limit blue light?
Did you know that the primary source of light is our sun? That means we are exposed to far more blue light in the day than at night. We have been constantly reminded of blue lights’ harms and potential hazards, but do we need to protect ourselves from the blue light every time?
The answer is NO! The blue light emitted from the sun at day time is beneficial. We don’t want to reach our offices, sleepy and tired, do we? We need blue light to make us alert during day time.
So, what should be the time of the day that we need to limit blue light? We will discuss it in this article.
What is the effect of blue light in the day time?
We are programmed to say active and alert during the course of the day while retiring to bed at night. Blue light is the main factor in programming our sleep and wake cycle also know as our circadian rhythm.
So how does blue light affect it?
Exposure of blue light reduces the sleep-inducing hormone in our body, called melatonin. Blue light also enhances our cognitive behavior and boosts our mood so that we are active in performing our daytime functions. So where is the healthy balance and when should we use blue light filtering?
Ideally we should limit artificial blue light from electronic devices, especially late at night to prevent eye strain and upsetting out circadian rhythms. We can use blue light filtering aids to help us block blue light in the form of Blue light glasses, blue light filters, blue light screens and filters on our phones / computer also.
Take Away Point
So the main take away point here is that not all blue light is bad for us it’s mainly the time around when we are exposed to blue light and also the source from which the blue light is coming from are the main things which need to be considered. Blue light is good for us during the daytime as it increases our mood, our cognitive performance and also our reaction time.
Effects of blue light at night
At night our bodies are programmed to dose off. How? Lack of blue light causes melatonin expression on our bodies, and this melatonin will induce sleepiness however too much blue light suppresses melatonin preventing our bodies going into night mode and causes a negative impact on our circadian rhythms.
However, this is not the case in recent times. With modern-day digital devices and other illumination sources like fluorescent bulbs and LEDs, the exposure of blue light has increased way past the sunset.
Being exposed to blue light has led to a decrease in melatonin production and hence more alertness at night.
Sources of blue light can range from computer screens to TV’s or in summary digital devices. All these devices create an exposure to blue light and if not monitored correctly can cause a number of health issues including:
The main cause of eye twitching is tiredness, overuse of digital devices which emit blue light, stress, excessive caffeine intake or sleep but not limited to just these. Alot of the causes listed here are perfectly manageable and can be controlled in our day to day lifestyle. We need to remember no one is perfect even taking some steps to reduce, for example, caffeine will have a positive impact. Maybe if you drink 3 cups of coffee a day cut it down to one or even say I won’t drink coffee after 6pm. Little steps like this will go a long way in improving circadian rhythms.
Sleep deprivation can be cause by increased stress, excessive light exposure (in particular blue light). Sleep deprivation will have a knock on effect in other areas of your health. If you think of sleep as the top of the health chain and everything falling into place below it. If you have sleep deprivation analyze the factors affecting your sleep and start from there. Chances are there will be a number of factors e.g. too much coffee before bed, sitting up in your bed scrolling through social media before you go asleep etc.
Increased Stress Levels
A good way to reduce stress levels is to take a time out for digital devices and go for a walk in nature and enjoy some fresh air. Maybe even take up an outdoor hobby and get some natural blue light from the sun. Some good hobbies to take up outdoors include Gardening, Golf, Running, or Walking. There is probably nothing more relaxing than going for a walk on sunny day listening to a good podcast or some relaxing music. Set yourself a target of steps to hit per week to keep yourself motivated and it will also help the time pass quicker.
What are the health impacts of blue light exposure at night?
Sleep is one of the necessities for optimal health. However, the sleep quality and quantity have both decreased in current times. The culprit? It is excessive exposure to blue light at night. There are many health impacts on this untimed blue light exposure.
Yes, insomnia is one of the primary sleep issues we are facing these days. The more the exposure of blue light at night, the less the expression of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin means less sleep and more alertness.
Tiredness at daytime
Our body and brain need time to get recharged after a tiring day. We need to sleep to regain our mental and muscular strength back. However, with the lack of sleep, our bodies feel tired and mind fogged. Thus, we won’t be able to carry out our day time functions usually.
Eye strain and soreness
Ever felt tired and heavy eyes after prolonged use of computer screens or and smartphones. This is due to continuous blue light exposure on our eyes. We need to be conscious of how much light our eyes are consuming and at times times of the day this light is good and bad.
We are practically glued to our digital devices these days, and using our cellphones late till night is a routine of most of us. This excessive usage is costing us our eye health. Dry eyes and eye pain are all the digital eye strain symptoms caused due to excessive blue light exposure.
Health Impact Take Away Points
As we can see from the examples above this ususally goes full circle – Lack of sleep > tiredness > eye strain and twitching. All these issue usually tend to go hand in hand and the only way to eliminate them is to look at what the issue is originating from. In this case ” Lack of Sleep” – So why am I not getting enough sleep? Am I using my phone too late at night? Watching TV too late at night? Once we get to the root of the problem causes the lack of sleep we can begin to address the other areas of this circle like the tiredness and the sore eyes etc. The main thing here is to ask what can I do to help myself sleep better – Limit Blue Light, dim the lights before bed, Reduce caffeine etc.
How can we limit the blue night at night time?
We can adopt some measures to decrease our blue light exposure at night and save ourselves from various health hazards.
Adjusting the brightness level at night
We should adjust the brightness of our phones and other digital devices at night. Some apps are available that would reduce the harmful blue light emission.
Using blue light blocking glasses
- Blue light blocking glasses have become an inevitable purchase these days. We can use these glasses while working on our digital devices or generally while we are out and about. These blue light blocking glasses does not let an excessive amount of blue light exposure on our eyes hence helps us reduce the overall health impacts of blue light. If you have to use electronic devices for say work or entertainment look into using blue light glasses to eliminate the blue light and also help against eye strain. Whilst it is hard to completely eliminate blue light blue light filters will help manage the light absorb and create a better nights sleep.
Turning lights off one to two hours before bedtime
We need melatonin expression for sleep induction. LED lights and fluorescent bulbs emit blue light, which causes the suppression of melatonin expression. Use dimmer red lights at night to help melatonin secretion . It’s always a good idea to dim or turn off our lights before bedtime for a sound sleep. Getting a good nights sleep will see a natural increase in energy.
Limiting screen time
Yes, the best measure is to limit the screen time altogether. We spend hours on our phones way past our bedtime without even realizing the potential damages. Limit the use of electronic devices late at night ideally one or two hours before you go to bed in order to improve your circadian rhythms. Many phones and devices now have built in settings to reduce the bright light emitting from the screens while some even have built in filters.
If you have any issues or concerns regarding blue light consumption we recommend seeking medical advice.