Blue light blocking glasses to help improve sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep or perhaps you are a night owl? Are you up at night surfing the net, sending out tweets to keep up with your social media?  If so, you might benefit from wearing glasses that block blue light.

But what is blue light? Blue light occurs naturally from the sun and during the day blue light helps us to keep alert by decreasing melatonin levels and elevating cortisol levels. Blue light during the day time also helps to elevate our mood by increasing the hormone serotonin.   In fact, you may have heard of blue light therapy for Seasonal Affect Disorder (AKA SAD) or Winter Blues because it boosts up serotonin levels. Well, the problem with blue light is our evening exposure. You see, before the discovery of electricity, the only light that our ancestors used in the evening was fire which is soothing to the eyes and does  not have any effect on our evening production of melatonin. But, with the advent of electricity, we did not to see in the dark with fire. We became exposed  to artificial lights which contained much blue light and now that we are a society glued to social media 24/7, we are being exposed to blue light being emitted from all types of electronic devices:Flat screen TVs, laptops, e-books, tablets, and smart phones.  The blue light exposure is too much for our eyes to handle in the evening.  One major adverse effect of blue light in the evening is that it decreases our melatonin production as it does in the morning.   The morning is not the issue because we need to be alert. But in the evening, when we have blue light exposure our bodies get delayed in sensing when it needs to rest.  Thus, our bodies circadian rhythm, the biological cycles that describes the ebbs and flows of when we wake up, when we need to fall asleep among other biological cycles is thrown off course. This can contribute to a type of sleep disorder called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which is common among adolescents and young adults.

So what can we do? Ideally, in the evening we should turn off all gadgets that emit blue light. But that is not going to happen in this internet/social media world. We need to compensate and one way to do that is to wear glasses that block blue light. These are glasses that contain an amber tinted lens, but  better tints are orange and red.  Various studies have shown that wearing these type of glasses in the evening for 2-3 hours before your bedtime can create a “virtual darkness” as far as your brain is concerned. Melatonin levels stay elevated and your circadian rhythms can be reverted back to a healthier state.

Article below highlights how blue blocking glasses can help improve sleep for people who spend time on the computer in the evenings.

Blue-light blocking glasses may help sleep after screen time – Reuters UK

http://news.google.com Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:00:59 GMT

Blue-light blocking glasses may help sleep after screen timeReuters UK“More and more suppliers of light therapy devices offer blue-blocker glasses in their range of products, because both bright light at the appropriate time of day and darkness or li …

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About Aroop Banerji N.D., L.Ac

Aroop Banerji N.D.., L.Ac is a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist. He obtained his bachelor science in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California – Davis. He pursued doctoral education in Naturopathic Medicine and graduate level training in Chinese Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. He specializes in using dietary supplements, diet therapies, herbal medicines, and acupuncture for chronic health complaints.
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