The use of digital devices such as smartphones and computers has become an essential part of modern-day living. A lot of work is done from a computer, communication throughout the day is done from a smartphone, and the evening is spent in front of a LED flatscreen. Those devices make our day to day living a lot easier and pleasant, however, more and more studies show how the light from these devices can have a severe negative health effect on us. Digital devices emit immense amounts of blue light, which has negative effects on our eyes and brain - more specifically it is increasingly leading to tiredness, sleep deprivation, and "digital hangover".
What is bluelight?
We want to make this a short and practical guide. However, to understand what blue light is, we must first understand how the human eye sees colors and what separates the different colors, we see.
Visible light is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue light rays. The colors we see depend on the light's wavelength and energy. Without getting to nitty-gritty in the physics, here is a short explanation: The relation between the different colors is reversed between wavelength and energy. Light with a longer wavelength has lower energy, light with a shorter wavelength has higher energy. Blue light, which of course is our focus in this article has the shortest wavelength of them all. This means that blue light holds and emits a lot of energy.
Where does blue light come from?
The sun has always been the main source of blue light for humans. However, in our modern society, we have created many man-made sources of blue light. All these sources of unnatural blue light mean that we are exposed to way more blue light than the body is evolved to be exposed to. The human-made blue light you run into every day is LED-lights, smartphones, computers, and LED screens. Unfortunately, this overexposure to blue light can have several negative health conveniences, let's explore what some of those are.
Is blue light harmful?
It’s important to make clear that blue light in itself is not harmful. Sunlight emits blue light that our bodies naturally absorb. However, overexposure from man-made sources such as smartphones and computers can have negative effects. The amount of blue light modern people are exposed to is way more than our natural susceptibility to it. Too much blue light can have both short and long-term consequences to our health, specifically our eyes and brain.
How does blue light affect my eyes?
You have probably already noticed the immediate effect blue light has on your eyes. Too much use of digital devices can lead to; dry eyes, blurred vision, eye strain, and headache - a syndrome often referred to as ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’.
Besides the immediate effects, blue light also has the ability to penetrate all the way to your retina (the back of the eye). This can result in the destruction of light sensitive cells in your retina, which in most cases will have a negative long term effect on your vision.
How does blue light affect my sleep?
Besides the immediate and noticeable effect overexposure to blue light has on eye health, studies also show that blue light has a significant effect on the brain. In particular the part of the brain that controls your circadian rhythm (called the suprachiasmatic nucleus).
When darkness falls, the body naturally produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that the brain produces to make you feel tired and help you fall asleep. As you know sleep is essential for your body to function. During the day, blue light from the sun will naturally suppress the brain production of melatonin, which then gradually will increase when darkness falls. This mechanism has through history been vital to secure a healthy circadian rhythm for humans and animals. However the use of smartphones, computers, etc. has a significant effect on the natural production of melatonin - it suppresses the production and disturbs sleep.
In 2015, the scientific magazine PNAS did a study did a study on the effect of reading on an iPad versus a physical book before bedtime. Not surprisingly, the study showed that reading on an iPad before bedtime caused the test persons to have a harder time falling asleep. More surprisingly was the bare numbers; the test persons reading on iPad produced 55% less melatonin. The aftereffects were that melatonin levels were not ‘peaking’ before the early morning hours. Hence the iPad readers felt more tired and less alert in the morning and even during the day - a kind of digital hangover.
The conclusion is that suppressing melatonin production before bedtime has effects on both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Luckily there is a simple solution, where you don't have to give up your digital devices and go live under a rock.
What is a blue light filter?
Blue light filter from Blueguard is a thin, almost invisible protection glass with the technology to filter out light with short wavelengths - Yes, you guessed it: blue light!
Blueguard Anti Blue Light Protection Glass filter out 85% of the blue light, which to you means healthier eyes and better sleep. When thinking about how many hours you spend in front of a digital device, it isn't rocket science to recognize that an 85% decrease in blue light exposure is seriously impactful to your health, sleep, and thereby overall wellbeing.
What are blue light glasses?
You have probably already heard about blue light glasses and wonder if you cannot just use a pair of those to block out blue light. And surely you can, it has the same effect. The thing we have noticed about using blue light glasses is that you either lose them, forget them, or get annoyed because you’re not used to wearing glasses. Further, the colours through the glass lenses will have an orange tinge. Compared to a clear filter that goes straight on your screen, you might find this offsetting.
How can I turn off blue light on my phone?
Most digital devices have a setting to regulate the colors that an LED screen is emitting. For example, it is called ‘night shift’ on Apple's devices. This software solution will substitute colors and therefore ‘block’ some of the blue light. Note that this will have a big impact on the colors of your display. This is a step in the right direction, but not a solution that will block out a significant amount of blue light. Night shift is designed to automatically turn on in the late hours before bedtime to help protect sleep, however it fails to protect your eyes during the day. You can help protect your eyes during the day by turning down the brightness of your displays and have the night shift turned on later.If you’re mostly on your computer, also late at night, there is a software called fl:ux which has the same effect as night mode.
Why is physical filter better than night mode?
Above mentioned solutions can remedy some of the negative health effects blue light has. However, if you’re having problems with your eyes or sleep or experience headaches during the day, you should probably seek out a more permanent and effective solution to the problem. At Blueguard we specialize in anti-blue light filter technology you can implement straight onto your device. This means that you will never forget to block out the harmful blue light, and it has no distortion in the colors- they remain clear and transparent. Our filters moreover is a tough tempered glass, so no more annoyance of using a broken screen or having to replace one. Go to our website and learn more about our anti-blue light screen protectors.
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