In case you don’t already know, blue light is the light that’s emitted by the screens on our phones, computers and TVs. While it can be beneficial during the day, exposure to blue light has gotten a pretty bad rep over the past few years and for good reason. Mainly because it’s been shown to mess with our circadian rhythms. Blue light has only really become a problem in the last few decades. For a long time, once the sun went down people were left in darkness, other than the warm light of a candle or lamp. But now, since we all tend to spend our evenings scrolling on our phones, browsing our computers or watching TV, we’re being exposed to blue light way later in the day than we should be. Blue light tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, therefor throwing off our biological clock and making our sleep schedules suffer. If you know anything about sleep, than you know just how important it is. It essentially plays a role in every system in our bodies, and when we don’t get enough quality sleep, those systems suffer.
But even with the knowledge that blue light is bad for us, it can still be really hard to avoid all screens once the sun goes down…especially in the winter when that happens at 4pm. Luckily, there’s a few easy things you can do to help protect your eyes and your sleep from blue light exposure:
1. Change the settings on your phone! Most phones have the ability to change the display settings to switch from blue to red light between certain hours of the day. Try setting yours to match the times of sunrise and sunset.
2. Shut down all electronics ideally 1 hour before bed, and keep them out of your bedroom if possible! Even if that means having to invest in a regular old alarm clock.
3. Dim the lights in your home, or use lamps and candles instead to signal your brain that the day is coming to a close and it’s time to start producing melatonin.
Get a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Sure they might sound gimmicky, and some definitely aren’t as good as others…but if you’re working late or really craving a movie night, they can help support your circadian rhythm. My favourites are the ones with actual orange or red lenses.
4. Switch up your evening activities. Avoidance is the easiest way to protect yourself against blue light. Try spending time with loved ones playing a game, doing a puzzle or just talking. And if you prefer to be alone in the evenings, then do some reading, pampering, baking, painting or whatever other activities you love to do that don’t involve a screen.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.
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