Blue light. It’s all around us. It exists naturally in our environment from the sun and, in moderation, can be beneficial to us. When delivered as part of the visible full light spectrum, accompanied by a balance of other light wavelengths, blue light helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, telling our body when it is time to be awake and when it is time to go to sleep. During the day, blue light helps to boost our attention levels, reaction times and our mood. At night, when the blue light from the sun fades away, our body knows it is time to release the hormone melatonin that helps us to fall asleep and rest and recover from the day.
However, blue light also exists in an artificial form, not as part of the full light spectrum. Artificial blue light is found in the digital screens of our smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and also in our household and office lighting. Our dependency upon this form of blue light is ever-increasing. Consider how many hours a day we spend underneath artificial lighting and in front of screens emitting artificial blue light.
Blue light is a very powerful and concentrated wavelength ranging between 400 and 495 nanometers. More and more studies are showing that over-exposure to this form of blue light may have detrimental effects on our eye health, our sleep and our skin. Its ability to deeply penetrate the retina can cause damage over time, and may lead to macular degeneration and vision loss. Blue light, particularly over 450 nanometres can have a significant impact on the brain’s ability to produce the hormone melatonin, which is crucial for regulating sleep. Essentially, exposure to artificial blue light at night tricks the brain into thinking it is still daytime and it suppresses the release of melatonin from the pineal gland. This makes it harder for us to fall asleep and enter a deep sleep which affects our overall health and well-being.
While the damaging effects of blue light on our eyes and sleep have been long known, more recent research has discovered that blue light may also be adversely affecting our skin, causing increased oxidation of skin cells, dehydration of the skin, accelerated skin aging and inflammation of the superficial layers of the skin.
Reducing exposure to artificial blue light is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Here are our four quick tips to help you optimise your light environment:
- Be outside early in the morning to gain exposure to natural, unfiltered sunlight. This is important for regulating the body’s circadian rhythm and for boosting energy levels and mood.
- Wear blue light blocking glasses at night to reduce exposure to blue light in those crucial hours before bedtime
- Protect your eyes during the day when using screens with blue light filtering glasses
- Swap out standard LED and CFL bulbs and lighting at home for blue light-free, healthy lighting alternatives.
For more information and to discover our range of blue light glasses and healthy lighting visit groundedwellness.co.uk
Great article! I use an earthing mat at night & it has made all the difference to alleviating lower back pain.