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How exposure to blue light could be keeping you awake.

February 13, 2018

 

Did you know that the light your eyes absorb is one of the main factors that sets your circadian rhythm? The biological rhythms of the body trigger the production and release of certain hormones. Your body naturally produces the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and this action is triggered from the eyes to the brain. Trouble is, with so much stimulating light beaming into our eyes…we could be wreaking havoc on the natural processes of the body, signaling the release of more stimulating hormones. In the game of rock, paper, scissors, cortisol suppresses melatonin.

 

Are we talking about a blue light bulb here? Nope! This is about the blue spectrum of light that we are increasingly exposed to. We are taxing our eyes in a way that is unknowable - all-day viewing of computer screens, phone displays, and LED and fluorescent lighting. The long-term impacts on our eye health and general health of these relatively new phenomena will slowly reveal themselves.

 

I remember first learning of the damaging potential of blue light during a regular eye checkup. When my optometrist mentioned blue light exposure. I thought wow, I’m never gonna be around blue light bulbs, not understanding that he was referring to the blue spectrum of light, which is also in sunlight. (I was young).

 

So, what to do? Because we aren’t able to control the quality of lightbulbs while we are out and about in the world…there are blue-light blocking glasses available. If you know that you need to be somewhere that bothers your eyes, these glasses are a convenient way to protect yourself. They are quite soothing - feel like a hug to the eyeballs. Several companies make them - Swanwick and True Dark, google blue-light blocking glasses. There are also apps that adjust the type and amount of light in your technology… Night Shift for the iPhone and f.lux for the laptop.

 

Of course it is optimal to sleep in complete darkness. A sweet nighttime ritual could include the dimming of lights after the sun goes down. Candlelight always makes me feel at peace. 

 

Getting proper sleep is vital. Begin to notice lighting and how it affects your mood and your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.

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