Are Blue Light Glasses Effective?

Are Blue Light Glasses Effective?
Blue light, coming from pretty much anything with a screen on it (phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, some room lighting, etc), will your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. It does this by elevating stimulatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, and suppressing inhibitory neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and melatonin.

As I’ve written about before, as someone that has studied behavior psychology for a couple decades, I know that telling everyone to eliminate all exposure to electronics and run on candles after sundown is not likely to be met with much enthusiasm or adherence. For this reason, I am a huge fan of blue blocking glasses, and this comes with several specifics. I’m not suggesting that you wear blue blocking “computer” glasses during the day, unless they are specifically to reduce eye strain, if that is something you are susceptible to.

And if you must do that, you should take some other steps to avoid side effects that will be discussed in a separate blog post on light boxes. What I recommend, is full orange lens blue blockers, worn only after sundown. The best ones I’ve found, that test extremely well in blocking all of the light spectrums we don’t want at night, are UVEX safety glasses. And good news, they’re very inexpensive. 

Now, keep in mind, these are super ugly. Enjoy the lack of fashion, talk your significant other into wearing them as well and make fun of how stupid you both look. 

I’ve been using these well before the advent of “Night Shift” for phones/tablets/laptops, and I was excited when that technology came out. If your electronics are not currently set to “Night Shift” mode (or the equivalent) starting at sundown, do that now. However, this feature has only been shown to block about 70% of unwanted blue light, and it turns out, even a little bit of blue light at night can disrupt our circadian cycles. Proper orange glasses (with the wraparound for the sides of the eyes like UVEX), will block up in the upper 90% range. 

In summary, minimize artificial light, especially from electronics at night. And if you are going to be exposed, just pop on these ugly glasses. Once I started using them, I won’t go without them, I even travel with them. It makes a huge difference on the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling great.

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