How to Use Blue Light to Your Advantage

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Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons for decreased productivity. As we advance in this digital age, it gets much more difficult for us to take a break from using our high-tech mobile devices, and this type of lifestyle only aids sleep deprivation. Whether catching up on your friends, the latest news, or your work emails before bed, just using your phone or tablet at night could lead to going to bed late, which could then only negatively affect your circadian rhythm. 

Much of our sleep deprivation is caused by excessive exposure to the blue light that is being emitted by your phone- and what blue light does to your eyes is possibly worse than you may imagine. 

What is Blue Light? 

Blue light is one of the colors in the visible light spectrum that keeps our bodies active. When we absorb it through our eyes or skin, it can cause our bodies to suppress the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep at night. 

Where Does Blue Light Come From?

Blue light is found everywhere. The reason for that is that the main source of blue light is none other than our very own star, the sun. Our electronic gadgets such as TVs, smartphones, and laptop or computer screens  are the most common manmade sources of blue light . 

Benefits of Blue Light

Although exposure to blue light at night (especially before bedtime) poses harmful effects to our health, exposure during daytime has several positive effects. Blue light helps boost metabolism and alertness. It also helps our cognitive functions such as attention and memory. Blue light also helps elevate the mood, which may also help alleviate some symptoms of depression. Another benefit of blue light is that it helps improve our body’s regulation of its natural sleep cycle, which is called the circadian rhythm. 

This is why exposure to sunlight during the daytime is very important and beneficial for your body, especially right after waking up in the morning. Some people tend to oversleep in the morning and have a hard time waking up early. But the simple task of getting out of that comfy bed and opening up those curtains to let that sunshine in will have promising effects for your body that is a great way to start your day. 

People tend to feel lethargic and sluggish during the afternoon around that little window just after lunchtime up to around 3 pm. But a 2013 study showed that exposure to blue light alone or simple caffeine intake during that midday slump is a highly effective remedy against drowsiness, due to its ability to enhance alertness, visual reaction time that requires decision-making, and working memory of a person. However, this study also showed that blue light-only exposure poses a much more promising effect, concluding that taking a walk outside is a bit better than drinking coffee to ease that afternoon sluggishness. Overall reduction of caffeine intake in the afternoon may also help you avoid its lasting effect in the evening. 

Avoiding Blue Light

Experts advise to avoid exposure to blue light at least 3 to a maximum of 4 hours before your bedtime comes. That includes lessening the usage of TV, computer, and smartphones. Although as much as we want to, this is one of our addictions that is quite difficult to let go. Falling asleep in front of our TV is a habit that some people might have. So, it is best advised to put your TV on a sleep timer to avoid blue light. 

Some newer types of light bulbs give off more blue light than others. Therefore, a great way to avoid blue light exposure is by buying a light bulb that emits a lesser amount of blue light to at least replace the lights in your bedroom, if not your entire house. 

Another way of avoiding blue light is by using blue light filtering glasses, especially when using a computer or laptop for a long period of time. There are different types of eye glasses for blue light in the market, but if you are wearing prescription glasses, it is best to ask your eye doctor about it so they can help find the right one for you. 

Many of us are quite guilty about the use and abuse of our mobile devices right before bedtime. The best way to avoid blue light that’s being emitted by your phone screen is by turning on the night mode function, and if your phone has an option to turn on its blue light filter, it’s best to top it off with this. But if your phone does not have those built-in, there are several free apps to filter blue light from your phone that are free to download.

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