When it comes to how light affects the human body, especially our eyes, it’s all about wavelength. The longer the wavelength, the less influence it has on you. Red and green light have minimal effects as they are below 550 nanometers (nm), while ultraviolet light, also known as UV, is more harmful at 400 nm.
Blue light with a wavelength of around 470 nm is most often associated with a disturbance in our circadian rhythms – as YouTuber Doctor Mike recently explained in a video.
“Most of the evidence of how blue light affects your health is in our biological clocks,” he says. “Blue light actually suppresses melatonin, the hormone that is released in our brains so we can fall asleep and fall asleep at night. Exposing yourself to blue light at night can make you less drowsy.”
While many different colors of light have this effect, Mike cites a Harvard study that found that blue light suppresses melatonin almost twice as fast as green light and shifts the circadian rhythm twice as much.
There is a positive aspect to this. When you wake up in the morning, opening the blinds to let in the daylight will help wake you up as it contains blue light and helps suppress this sleep hormone, resetting the circadian rhythm for the following night.
Mike’s advice on minimizing the effects of blue light on our sleep patterns is to be off screen time for at least 2 hours before bed and to use dimmer lights in your home in the evenings. He also suggests blue light-proof glasses if you need to use a screen for work late at night.
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Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be exposed to blue light from laptop and phone screens Not cause eye strain, says Mike; It does this because of intense focus and concentration, with less frequent blinking, resulting in dryness and irritation. This can be combated by staying at least 2 feet from your screen with eye drops and using the 20/20/20 rule: stare at a fixed point 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to relax your eyes .
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