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Is blue light messing with your sleep?

Circadian rhythm blues

Our species evolved to be in sync with the natural day-night cycle.  It is therefore no surprise that our circadian rhythm –our internal 24-hour clock–  is highly influenced by exposure to light. And it so happens that this clock influences much more than just our sleep-wake cycle.  Our circadian rhythm has important effects on our metabolism and regulation of body temperature, digestion, appetite, and even mood.  

One thing you can do with this knowledge is to think about your exposure to light after sunset.  It has been clearly established that exposure to light, specially short-wavelength lighting (between 470 and 525 nm), suppresses melatonin production, in essence telling the body to wake up.  This is precisely the type of “blue” light that emanates from laptop screens and smartphones. 

A popular hack

Which explains the rising popularity of amber blue-light filtering glasses.  The trend has become even more pronounced since the pandemic, as many people have increased their exposure to screens.  So, do they work?  We found a couple of studies like this one that showed that blocking low-wavelength light prevents nocturnal melatonin suppression with no adverse effect on performance.

Our take is this: if you are trying to improve the quality of your sleep, you might want to try wearing a pair of blue-light blocking glasses for a few weeks.  If you have a sleep tracker, even better.  This is the perfect type of hack to test and look for improvement in your data.  In the end the cost of a pair of good glasses is relatively low in relation to the potential improvement in longevity you can gain by having a healthy circadian rhythm.  Find out for yourself. 

Check out a few options here and here

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