Blue light blocking glasses have been growing in popularity lately and are popping up everywhere. But do they actually work and how can they help you reach your fitness goals?
Our main source of blue light comes from the sun, which also contains red, orange, yellow, and green light. However, we are also surrounded by artificial blue light which mimics natural blue light and can affect our circadian rhythms. These artificial blue light sources emit significant amounts of blue light and include fluorescent overhead lights, tablets, phones, computer screens, and TVs. While these devices might not emit as much blue light as the sun, we still tend to spend an incredible amount of time in front of these devices which can greatly impact not only our eye health, but also our circadian rhythms which are directly related to our sleeping patterns.
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle and respond primarily to darkness or light. Basically, this is our internal clock that tells us when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to bed. This is controlled within the part of the brain known as the hypothalmus. When it starts to get dark outside, your hypothalamus will receive a signal from your eyes telling the brain that it’s time to start winding down for bed. Your body will then start to release melatonin, a hormone which makes your body tired in order to prepare for sleep. So when we are looking at screens at night, the blue light from the screen mimics the light from the sun which in turn tells our brain that it is still daylight. When this happens it can start to disrupt our circadian rhythm and natural sleeping patterns.
There are many other factors that can disrupt your circadian rhythms as well, including travel, working night shift, or staying out too late. However, screen time is a leading factor. So when you are on your phone late at night or binge-watching Netflix when you should be going to sleep, this is going to affect that internal clock and in turn increase cortisol levels which can making losing weight more difficult.
While screen time is unavoidable sometimes, what can we do in order to combat blue light at night to get our internal clocks back on track, our cortisol levels down, and in turn burn more body fat?
Utilizing blue light blocking glasses is a great option! Not only will they help with eye strain, but they will help keep your circadian rhythms on track. There are a lot of different blue light glasses on the market right now, so when looking for a pair, you should opt for those with a range that covers up to 455 nanometers. Blue light falls in the range of 400-465 nm, but the most harmful rays are between 415-455 nm. You can wear them all day, but for the most benefit in terms of sleep, you should prioritize wearing them at night.