Protect Yourself From the Blue Light

Protect Yourself From the Blue Light

Many things affect our body every day, and light is one of them. There is so much “harmful” light around us, which we absorb in large quantities and do not think about its effects on us. In particular we will talk about the blue spectrum.

Many doctors and scientists believe that the blue spectrum of radiation is the most harmful of all existing spectra. Blue light has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy, so blue light is also called HEV-light or high-energy visible light.

This high energy means that it can penetrate the skin even deeper than UVA and UVB rays. Scientists also found out they experimented with different colors and found that blue light caused partial death of retinal cells. This was not the case with other colors.

The blue spectrum in the evening disturbs the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) and disrupts circadian rhythms in humans. Because of this, the quality of sleep is disturbed and dozens of other disorders will appear because of poor sleep.

Researchers from Harvard conducted an experiment comparing the effects of exposure to blue and green light of similar brightness for 6.5 hours. They found that blue light suppressed melatonin release twice as long as green light and shifted circadian rhythms twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours). In addition, recent studies have shown that permanently disrupting melatonin production increases the risk of obesity and some cancers.

Unfortunately, the blue spectrum of light is all around us today: street lights, advertising signs, smartphones, TVs, laptops, appliance indicators, and so on. And it’s not good for our health.

For example, I have a blue indicator in my microwave and oven, but it’s a good thing they are in the kitchen and not in the bedroom. If I had the option to change the color, I would. But at the time I bought the appliances, I didn’t think about what color the information on the screen was. Besides, in one of my cars, the screen is almost entirely blue. One of my air purifiers has 3 modes, one of which has a blue light on. Not only is the blue spectrum itself not the most useful, it’s also too much.

When there weren’t any modern gizmos before, people weren’t essentially exposed to anything more globally than natural sunlight. And now we are exposed to that kind of light almost around the clock. In small doses there is nothing wrong with blue light. But when we have lighting with this spectrum everywhere, it becomes abundant and harmful. What can you do? I tell you how to reduce the impact.

First, you need to turn on a special mode on your computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone and other devices, usually called “night mode”. Now this function is available by default in all modern operating systems (Mac OS, iOS, Android, Windows etc, because even the developers of devices know about the harm of blue radiation). According to the standard settings, the night mode is usually recommended to turn on in the evening a few hours before bedtime. In my case, this mode is on around the clock.

After turning on this mode, the screen, whether it’s a smartphone or laptop screen becomes a little orange. Blue colors are removed from it. Purely by feeling, even the eyes become easier, although the first few hours may be unaccustomed. Besides there is an opinion, that because of the excessive consumption of the blue spectrum one gets tired faster. That is why I recommend to turn on this function right now. For example, on iPhone and Mac this feature is called “Night shift”.

Second, you should try to change the backlighting of the devices that surround you. Personally, I have replaced all gauges and displays where there are blue indicators with another color. If it is not possible – I just turn off the indicator. If it’s not possible to do that – then I just glue it (if this indicator doesn’t have any valuable information). As a last resort you can glue with a special scotch tape, which will change the color of the indicator.

There is another option. You can put the device with the blue indicator in a room where you rarely go in the evening. For example, I have one of my air purifiers that has one indicator light, but there it is constantly changing color based on the condition of the air.

I also have RGB lighting in my house, so I can change the colors in the rooms. My default lighting in all my rooms is usually white, in the evening I sometimes turn on orange or red lighting, which better prepares my body for sleeping. There is also an opinion in the scientific community that our bodies often lack the red spectrum. So I prefer to switch to it in the evening.

An additional protector for me from the blue spectrum are biohacking glasses. In the daytime I use so-called computer “zero”-glasses. Thanks to them eyes are less tired and they absorb harmful radiation from device screens. And in the evening I use so-called “blue blocker”-glasses. These are orange glasses that block the blue spectrum. They not only protect my eyes, they also normalize my circadian rhythms.

But why is it all so important and necessary? What is the harm of blue light and lighting? Let’s go back to evolution.

The humans historically used to wake up with the sun and go to bed with darkness. They had a so-called “natural clock” in their bodies. At night they could not work much and effectively. At that time there was no other type of light except fire (which is why, by the way, orange and red light is well accepted by our bodies in the evening).

But now we live in a very different time. Due to the fact that even at night we have lighting everywhere (on the street including outside the window), then our brain simply does not understand that it is actually evening. Because of the presence of light and the light hitting the retina, the brain thinks that it is daytime and melatonin production is blocked.

From an evolutionary point of view, our brain and body reactions are logical. Why do we need melatonin in the daytime? And its production is blocked or at least its secretion is reduced. But if you are surrounded by bright light after 10 p.m., especially on the blue spectrum, our brain and body start to think that night has not yet come!

That’s why you may have often heard the advice that you should stop using any device 2-3 hours before bedtime to start producing melatonin. But given that not everyone in our modern world is willing to do this, this advice is unlikely to be applied en masse by people.

I, too, would not give such advice, although I understand that this is appropriate. I just understand that if we live in a megalopolis, then there is a completely different rhythm. Of course, if someone lives in the countryside and lives by “village laws” (if such laws exist at all), then yes, it is not difficult to implement. In principle, older people in villages mostly observe such natural rhythms. But even in villages, there are things that disrupt circadian rhythms: TV and ceiling lights.

Over time, I am sure, evolution will go further and our body will adjust to the new realities. But this will take hundreds, if not thousands of years. In the near future, it is unlikely that we and our children will see the reorganization of our brain and our body in general, so that it reacts differently to artificial light. But nevertheless, glasses that block junk light are one of the easy and universal methods of helping your brain understand that it is evening and not day.

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