Blue light is a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted from our electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Contrary to popular belief that blue light is only emitted from electronic devices, it’s also present in natural sunlight. It has a wavelength of around 470 to 550 nanometers and is one of the shortest and most energetic wavelengths of visible light.
The human body has a natural response to blue light, as it helps regulate our circadian rhythm, or our internal 24-hour “clock,” which helps us feel awake during the day and sleepy at night. However, with the increasing use of electronic devices and artificial lighting, many people are exposed to blue light well into the evening, disrupting their natural sleep patterns.
The effects of blue light on human health have been the subject of much research in recent years. While exposure to blue light is essential for regulating our sleep-wake cycle and other physiological processes, excessive exposure to blue light can have negative effects on our health. In this blog post, we will explore what experts tell us about the effects of blue light on our bodies and what we can do to protect ourselves.
What Do Experts Say?
Experts generally agree that blue light, a high-energy visible (HEV) light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, can negatively affect sleep and overall health.
One of the main concerns with blue light is its ability to suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin plays a critical role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm, the internal “clock” that controls the timing of sleep and wakefulness.
When the body is exposed to blue light, melatonin production is suppressed, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can lead to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Prolonged exposure to blue light has been linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that can cause vision loss.
The macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision, is particularly sensitive to blue light. Studies have found that prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the macula, leading to the development of AMD.
Additionally, blue light can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. It can also cause digital eye strain, a condition that results from the prolonged use of electronic devices. Symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, blurred vision, and eye strain. To minimize the negative effects of blue light, experts recommend the following:
- Using blue light filters on electronic devices. Some smartphones, tablets, and computers come with built-in blue light filters, and there are also third-party apps and software that can be used to reduce blue light exposure.
- Avoiding screens for several hours before bedtime. This allows the body’s melatonin production to increase, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Using dim red lights in the bedroom at night. Red light has been found to have less effect on melatonin production than blue light, making it a better option for use in the evening.
- Take frequent breaks while using electronic devices and practice the 20-20-20 rule, which states that every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
- Blink frequently when working on electronic devices, as staring at a screen can cause dry eyes.
It is important to remember that the evidence on the effects of blue light on health is still being studied, and more research is needed to understand the full extent of the effects. However, reducing exposure to blue light can help mitigate the potential negative effects on sleep and overall health.
Effects on Sleep
One of the most significant effects of blue light is on our sleep patterns. As more and more people use mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and screens, they expose themselves to a significant amount of blue light. This affects their natural sleep schedules.
Studies have also shown that exposure to blue light in the evening can reduce the amount of deep sleep and increase the amount of time spent in the lighter stages of sleep. As discussed before,blue light suppresses melatonin production, making it challenging for us to fall asleep quickly and have an unaffected sleep, resulting in severe issues like insomniaor difficulty falling asleep.
Moreover, studies indicate that blue light exposure before bedtime causes a reduction in the quality of sleep, as well as a reduction in the duration of REM sleep. This leads to less restorative sleep and increased feelings of fatigue during the day.
Effects on Eye Health
Another effect of blue light is on our eye health. Prolonged exposure to blue light can lead to digital eye strain, which can cause symptoms such as dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. Blue light can also penetrate the retina, which is the part of the eye responsible for converting light into electrical signals sent to the brain.
This can lead to damage to the cells in the retina over time, increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Exposure to blue light from electronic devices can cause eye strain, dry eyes, and headaches. Furthermore, the retina of the eye is sensitive to blue light, and long-term exposure to it increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness in older adults.
Effects on Mood and Mental Health
Exposure to blue light can also affect our mood and mental health. Several reports have stated that it can lead to a reduction in mood and an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This is likely due to the disruption of the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, which can lead to changes in the levels of certain hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, the reduction of melatonin production caused by blue light exposure can lead to a decrease in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions.
Effect On Cancer
Blue light has been shown to impact certain types of cancer, particularly breast and prostate cancer. It was found that exposure to blue light during the night can affecta woman’s circadian rhythm, leading to a greater risk of developing breast cancer in women.
Additionally, studies have suggested that exposure to blue light later in the day can suppress melatonin production in men, which can lead to an increased threat of prostate cancer in men.
Effect On Heart Disease
Excessive exposure to blue light has also been linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Researchers discovered that exposure to blue light at night could disrupt the body’s internal clock, leading to a higherchance of forming cardiovascular disease. Blue light exposure has also been linked to an increased possibility of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both risk factors for heart disease.
Effect On Immune System
Blue light has also been found to have a major impact on the immune system. Suppression of melatonin production can lead to an increased risk of developing infections.
Benefits Of Blue Light Filter
Blue light filters are designed to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. Blue light has been shown to have several negative effects on the body, including disrupting sleep patterns, causing eye strain, and increasing the risk of certain types of cancer.
Improved Sleep Quality
One of the main benefits of blue light filters is that they can help to improve sleep quality. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. By reducing the amount of blue light exposure before bedtime, blue light filters can help to improve the body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Reduced Eye Strain
Another benefit of blue light filters is that they can help to reduce eye strain. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can cause the eyes to become fatigued and dry, leading to headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. Blue light filters can help to reduce these symptoms and improve overall eye health.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Blue light filters may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Some studies have suggested that exposure to blue light may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.
Improved Mood And Cognitive Function
In addition, blue light filters may also help to improve mood and cognitive function. Blue light exposure has been linked to increased feelings of anxiety and depression and has been shown to decrease cognitive function and attention. So, if you reduce the amount of blue light exposure, blue light filters can help to improve mood and cognitive function.
3 Myths About Blue Light Filters
- One Should Avoid Any Exposure To Blue Light.
The blue light emitted by electronic devices has a notoriously bad reputation for being harmful to the eyes. Certain blue light, meanwhile, has beneficial effects on humans. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects a sizable population. It’s a form of seasonal depression. Treatment with high levels of blue light throughout the daytime is effective for persons with seasonal affective disorder.
- There Is No Way To Avoid Experiencing Digital Eye Strain
Even with extended screen time, protecting your eyes from digital eye strain is simple. The 20-20-20 rule should be used regularly. According to this rule, you should spend twenty seconds staring straight ahead, roughly twenty feet, every twenty minutes. Digital eye strain can be avoided using blue light filter glasses.
- Blue Light Isn’t Organic
With the advent of digital gadgets like computers and smartphones, more information about blue light became available to the public. But blue light can also be found in nature. The sun’s rays are a naturally occurring blue light. The human body is designed to take in a specific amount of daylight daily. However, our nighttime use of electronic devices disrupts our natural sleep-wake cycles.
Blue light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from our electronic devices and is also present in natural sunlight. While it plays a vital role in regulating our circadian rhythm, prolonged exposure to blue light in the evening can disrupt our sleep patterns, lead to digital eye strain, and affect our mood and mental health.
By limiting our exposure to blue light in the evening, using warm-colored lights, wearing blue light-blocking glasses, taking regular breaks, practicing good sleep hygiene, using a blue light filter on our device, and dimming the screen in the evening, we can protect ourselves from the negative effects of blue light.
It is important to be aware of the potential negative effects of blue light and to take steps to protect ourselves from it. With the increasing use of electronic devices in our daily lives, we must be mindful of our blue light exposure and take steps to protect ourselves from its negative effects.
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