How To Sleep Better By Cutting Down Your Exposure To Bluelight

It's crazy how much artificial light we are exposed to each day. Think about this: our ancestors were only exposed to natural daylight or firelight. And our bodies take cues from the light to regulate our circadian rhythms as well as the seasonal rhythms, so you can imagine that all this amount of white and blue light can mess with our bodies.

Screens are a huge source of blue light, in fact they are optimised to edit a lot of short-wavelenght blue light to increase visibility. LED light bulbs emit much more blue light waves than most of the older types of lighting.

In nature blue light waves are only found in bright daylight, and in response to them the body suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin. Blue light late in the evening throws off our sleep cycle -- and not just our sleep cycle. There is research going on that links excessive exposure to blue light with cataracts and vision problems. Harvard studies have shown that blue light can inhibit leptin, the satiety hormone. They have also have linked overexposure to blue light with diabetes, obesity and depression.
And my personal theory is that because of the constant exposure to blue light our body doesn't start the natural "pre-sleep sequence" -- where we gradually wind down physically and mentally, the need to eat decreases, the body and mind relaxes. If you have ever lived for a few weeks in a tent or other place free from electric lights, you'll know what I'm talking about. I remember that the treks I made in the Himalayas were among the most restful times in my life (even compared to other treks), partially because the electricity (if the village was even on the grid) was usually so weak that you could barely read a book in the orange light of the light bulbs.

Tips on Minimising Your Exposure To Blue Light

So how to deal with overexposure to blue light waves, apart from moving to a Himalayan village that is not on the electricity grid?

Use warmer LEDs in your home, especially in spaces where you spend time in the evening. The temperature of light is measured in the Kelvin scale. 4500-5500 is more or less like daylight, however for the evening you might want to go warmer, below 2700K. Especially bedside lights should be very warm. 
Have several light sources in a room. There is no need for a bright overhead light during dinner or board games in the evening. Instead you could have warm side lamps and candles.  
If you have the money, look into smart lighting which can be set to automatically make the light warmer a few hours before bedtime. 
Avoid looking at screens for 2-3 hours before bed. Apart from the blue light, the constant dopamine kicks from social media stimulate the mind too much.
If this is not possible, install F.Lux or a similar app which makes the screen warmer in the evening. I find that this makes a huge difference.  
Small screens are better than bigger ones, because they emit less light. Don't hold them too close to your face. 
If you use an e-reader, choose one that has a setting that eliminates blue light. Or reverse the colours -- read white letters on a black background. Or read a good old paper book. 
Try blue light blocking glasses. These are especially amazing if you are sharing your living space or office with other people and don't have much control over the light bulbs, or if you are watching a film with someone and they don't want the screen on sunset mode. 
These are several kind of these --  really intense ones are meant for people who have serious issues with blue light. Lightly tinted ones look like regular glasses and after a while you forget that you are wearing them. 

I have been using these two models from Spektrum glasses. They come in several styles and colours, the tortoiseshell one is a prospek-50 model which blocks the most harmful blue light while allowing other colours to pass through. The glasses are every so slightly tinted, almost clear; they frame has a nice matte finish and they look like regular mid-range prescription glasses. When I put them on I see a very slight tint, but very soon my eyes adjust to distinguish the tones of colours. I find the effect very soothing, and my eyes feel relaxed at the end of the evening.I have also heard that they help with chronic dry eye.

The black model is from the prospek-99 range which blocks 99% of blue light. I wouldn't wear them at work, but they are perfect for late-night writing on the computer. They are also recommended for anyone who is very sensitive to blue light.

All the glasses are anti-reflective (which is a huge bonus when working in front of the computer, anti-scratch and UV blocking. The lenses are polycarbonate, which is supposed to be very durable. They come in a sturdy and elegant case. The price is extremely affordable -- I was sent these glasses to review, the regular cost starts from 40USD on Amazon or directly from Spektrum
The Artist model happened to fit me to a T -- the width of the entire glasses, the nose bridge, everything. The sides are light and bendy so the should accommodate different head widths. However if a model doesn't fit you, you can easily exchange it or return it-- from many sources I have read that their customer service is amazing. 

Have a great week!

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