Wondering where blue light comes from? The sun’s light is scattered in all directions by tiny molecules of air in the atmosphere and blue is scattered more than other colors, because it travels in shorter, smaller waves. This is where blue light comes from and why we see the sky blue most of the time. Now the natural blue light from the sun helps you regulate your sleep cycle, boost alertness, elevate your mood and make you feel good, so it is actually GOOD for you.
The issue with blue light is the excessive exposure to artificial sources of blue light in electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers, as well as energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and LED lights. With artificial lighting and new technology, our evenings are now always illuminated, and we spend hours and hours behind screens. Remember that before artificial lighting, the sun was the primary source of illumination and people would spend their evenings in mostly darkness.
Exposure to blue light at night throws our body’s clock out of whack and suppresses the secretion of melatonin, making our sleep suffer and according to Harvard researchers even contributing to things like heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and more.
Our eyes’ natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices. Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.
With technology taking over our lives we are gradually being exposed to more and more sources of blue light and for more extended periods of time. This is why it is so important to be mindful when using digital devices.
What can I do to protect myself from the harmful effects of blue light exposure?
Below you will find a few recommendations that can help combat the negative effects of blue light exposure.
- When staring at your devices be sure to take frequent breaks, move away from the screen at least every hour to give your eyes a break.
- Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed. If you can’t avoid looking at screens at night-time, it is recommended to wear blue light blocking glasses. We recommend a pair like these inexpensive ones from Amazon: US/CAN
- Try to expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day that will help boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.
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