Today's busy world has you staring at your devices constantly, making your exposure to blue light much more common than you think. Blue light is what makes your phone, computer and tv screen illuminate, as well as the LED lights found in your home. But what's good for technology and lighting isn't necessarily good for your health.
One of the biggest threats to your health is blue light's ability to disrupt your circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle. Your body has a natural cycle of sleeping and waking, and blue light plays a major role in regulating this cycle. In the morning, blue light found in the sun's rays signals your body to feel alert and awake for the day. When the sun goes down, the removal of blue light tells your body that it's nighttime. Unfortunately due to the constant exposure to blue light from devices, the body has trouble recognizing day from night and your natural rhythm gets thrown off.
For example, if you wind down for the night on your phone or watching tv, the blue light signals to your body that it's still daytime. This inhibits your body's ability to produce melatonin, your sleep hormone and is a reason why your sleep might be sabotaged. Without proper sleep, you are at risk for many conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and depression. Additionally, over exposure to blue light is linked to other symptoms, such as headaches, eye strain and discomfort, as well as fatigue. While eliminating phones and computers is not a likely solution, there are a variety of measures you can take to limit your exposure to blue light:
1. Limit your devices at nighttime
Instead, wind down for the night with a cup of tea, a warm bath, or read a book. If you absolutely need to spend time in front of a screen, do so earlier in the evening so it's not right before bedtime. Allowing 2-3 hours device-free before bed will help your body get back to its natural rhythm.
2. Enable the Night Shift setting on your phone
If you have an Iphone, you are able to alter the screen temperature of your device to a warmer color to limit blue light exposure. You can enable Night Shift by going to Settings - Display & Brightness - Night Shift. If you do not have an Iphone, there a variety of apps you can download from your app store to adjust your device's blue light output.
3. Purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses
If you spend a majority of your day looking at a screen, investing in blue light blockers might be worth it. There are a variety of different brands, styles and colors to choose from, so you can still look good & protect your eyes at the same time.
4. Rest your eyes
The best way to protect your eyes from digital blue light is to give them a break. Follow the 20-20-20 rule, which says every 20 minutes you should look away from the screen at an object that is about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. You can set a timer on your phone to remind you. This will help prevent eye strain and the fatigue that comes from staring at technology for too long.
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