We’re exposed to blue light on a daily basis. It is produced by the sun, by lights, and by our electronic devices. If you’re using electronic devices, such as your smartphone, television, a computer, or a tablet, you’re exposing yourself to high-energy visible (HEV) blue light. Light coming off our devices is short-wavelength enriched, meaning it has a greater concentration of blue light than natural light.

Blue Light Glasses for Screen Protection

Those high levels of blue light can be, and usually are, a problem for our body. We need natural amounts of blue light to sustain a healthy lifestyle, but the blue light produced by electronics at such a high concentration can be detrimental.

Blue light is important in regulating our body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Blue light signals our bodies to stop producing melatonin, which helps wake us up each day. Too much exposure to blue light, especially in the evenings or at night, disrupts our sleep cycles and wreaks havoc on our body’s natural internal clock because it prevents our bodies from producing the necessary hormone.

Blue Light Filtering Glasses for Children

Children are even more susceptible because their eyes have not yet developed natural defenses against UV and HEV blue light.

The elderly are also more susceptible to these effects. As a person ages, the density of a person’s lens changes, allowing the eye to be more exposed to blue light. Studies on the subject show that elderly people are much more likely to have trouble producing the melatonin needed to fall asleep or stay asleep as a result.

When people are exposed to blue light before bed it takes them longer to fall asleep. When they do fall asleep, since the body hasn’t produced the appropriate level of melatonin, they tend to spend less time in REM sleep and often wake up feeling sleepier, even after what seems like a full night of sleep.

Blue Light and Circadian Rhythm

Changes in sleep patterns can shift the body’s natural clock, which is known as circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm regulates our sleep cycle and also regulates our organ functions. Therefore, disruptions in the circadian rhythm because of blue light can potentially affect the body beyond sleep issues, such as insomnia.

Blue Light Impact on Sleep and Circadian Rhythm

Not only can the effects of light-emitting devices cause trouble with the circadian rhythm at night, but into the following day as well. Blue light at night can prevent our bodies from being as alert the next morning, which can cause a cycle of poor sleep over time and become a hard habit to break.

The time of day and how long we’re exposed to blue light each day plays a role in our melatonin production and our circadian rhythm. Being exposed early in the day has a positive effect, as it signals our bodies to be awake and alert. However, being exposed to it for long times during the evening has the same effect. The more blue light we’re exposed to in the evenings (especially the light transmitted by devices), the harder it is for our bodies to begin melatonin production.

Long and late exposures to blue light also increase our heart rate and affect our core body temperature negatively, especially when we’re exposed in the 460-nanometer range or less.

Blue Light and Melatonin

It is well recognized and understood that blue light suppresses production of melatonin in the body. People are particularly sensitive to light in the blue wavelength region of the spectrum, which are the wavelengths that suppress the production of melatonin. Melatonin, released by the pineal gland in the body, follows a cycle throughout the day — it is released a few hours before bed, and then production peaks in the middle of the night. Melatonin is what cues your body that it is time to go to sleep and what sustains your sleep through the night.

When there’s a disruption in the production of melatonin, it leads to problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or possibly waking too early. Studies have shown being exposed to blue light in the early evening suppresses melatonin production and causes a circadian delay or resets our internal clock to a later schedule, affecting our sleep patterns.

Studies have shown exposure to light at night leads to a myriad of chronic health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Some research is beginning to link chronic disease and lower levels of melatonin. Any kind of light can cause the suppression of melatonin, but it happens at a higher rate when it’s blue light.

Blue Light Disrupts Sleep

Even the slightest amount of harmful light in the hours leading up to bed can affect your sleep because it will keep you awake longer. Many studies reveal that shutting off all electronics at least two hours before bed is the best way to ensure it doesn’t interfere with melatonin production. Digital overexposure keeps you awake longer, it prevents you from spending enough time in the most restful stages of sleep, and it makes you wake up throughout the night or wake up for the day earlier. This makes you feel tired and prevents you from being alert.

Studies have shown blue light affects not only our melatonin production, but our core body temperature and heart rate as well. When people were exposed to wavelengths in the 460-nanometer range, there was a significant suppression of melatonin, a significant increase in the core body temperature, and a significant increase in the heart rate. When people were exposed to light in the 550-nanometer range, there was no change, same as when people were exposed to no light at all. This means the alerting response to light is wavelength dependent and devices have a huge impact on our bodies.

How Does Blue Light Filter Help You Sleep?

The less damaging light we’re exposed to in the evening, the more melatonin our bodies produce. Since it’s not conducive to our lifestyles to avoid all blue light in the hours leading up to bedtime, filtering glasses like bluwinx can help. bluwinx glasses filter most of the blue wavelengths coming off devices meaning more melatonin production, more sleep, and less of a risk to your circadian rhythm.

Less damaging light results in being able to fall asleep faster, being able to stay asleep longer, and more time spent in the REM stage of sleep. This means people who aren’t exposed to as much harmful light get a better night’s rest. They feel more alert in the morning.

The perfect solution is to wear filtering glasses such as bluwinx. bluwinx glasses allow people to continue their lifestyle without the detrimental benefits of being exposed to devices. This means you can still read on e-readers, scroll through your phone, or watch TV up until bedtime and get a restful night’s sleep.

Sources

Cajochen, C., Munch, M., Kobialka, S., Krauchi, K., Steiner, R., Oelhafen, P., … & Wirz-Justice, A. (2005). High sensitivity of human melatonin, alertness, thermoregulation, and heart rate to short wavelength light. The journal of clinical endocrinology & metabolism, 90(3), 1311-1316.

Herljevic, M., Middleton, B., Thapan, K., & Skene, D. J. (2005). Light-induced melatonin suppression: age-related reduction in response to short wavelength light. Experimental gerontology, 40(3), 237-242.

Kimberly, B., & James R, P. (2009). Amber lenses to block blue light and improve sleep: a randomized trial. Chronobiology international, 26(8), 1602-1612.

Lockley, S. W., Brainard, G. C., & Czeisler, C. A. (2003). High sensitivity of the human circadian melatonin rhythm to resetting by short wavelength light. The Journal of clinical endocrinology & metabolism, 88(9), 4502-4505.

Sasseville, A., Paquet, N., Sévigny, J., & Hébert, M. (2006). Blue blocker glasses impede the capacity of bright light to suppress melatonin production. Journal of pineal research, 41(1), 73-78.

van der Lely, S., Frey, S., Garbazza, C., Wirz-Justice, A., Jenni, O. G., Steiner, R., … & Schmidt, C. (2015). Blue blocker glasses as a countermeasure for alerting effects of evening light-emitting diode screen exposure in male teenagers. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(1), 113-119.

West, K. E., Jablonski, M. R., Warfield, B., Cecil, K. S., James, M., Ayers, M. A., … & Hanifin, J. P. (2011). Blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans. Journal of applied physiology, 110(3), 619-626.

Wood, B., Rea, M. S., Plitnick, B., & Figueiro, M. G. (2013). Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression. Applied ergonomics, 44(2), 237-240.

Zeitzer, J. M., Dijk, D. J., Kronauer, R. E., Brown, E. N., & Czeisler, C. A. (2000). Sensitivity of the human circadian pacemaker to nocturnal light: melatonin phase resetting and suppression. The Journal of physiology, 526(3), 695-702.

Lockley, S. W., Brainard, G. C., & Czeisler, C. A. (2003). High sensitivity of the human circadian melatonin rhythm to resetting by short wavelength light. The Journal of clinical endocrinology & metabolism, 88(9), 4502-4505.