Since the pandemic began, we have seen everything switch online—classes, seminars, meetings, work, and doctor consultations. Most of us would say that this change has been for the best.
Not only are we safe from the COVID-19 virus, but we also get the convenience of being able to work and study remotely. But is it all good?
Aside from our mobile phone addiction, the additional screen time burden can take a toll not only on our eyes but also on our general well-being. Excessive exposure to blue light from electronic screens and monitors can be bad news despite the convenient work arrangement.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is part of the color spectrum of the white light that we see from the sun or fluorescent lights. Its wavelength is beneficial during day hours as it improves focus, attention, and mood.
At night, it can be disruptive as it can alter the natural sleep cycle or circadian rhythm and trigger headaches.
How Does Blue Light Affect the Circadian Rhythm?
Our body produces a hormone called melatonin following our circadian rhythm. It is produced at night when it is time to sleep.
According to a Harvard study, blue light suppresses melatonin production for twice as long as other types of light in the spectrum and shifts the circadian rhythms by twice as much. This causes changes in sleeping patterns, affecting our general well-being. It can lead to daytime sleepiness, decreased focus, migraines, and headaches.
Such sleep problems are also linked to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. They deprive our brains of time to process memories and information.
How to Reduce Exposure to Blue Light
Our exposure to blue light is aggravated by the excessive use of technological devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and TV screens.
The ideal scenario is we stop using these gadgets. But given that we use them for work and recreation, it is highly unlikely. What can you do instead?
For one, you can consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or lenses. There are not many conclusive studies on their protective feature, but one conducted at Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard in Canada suggests a positive effect on melatonin production.
The study compared the melatonin levels of people exposed to bright indoor light while wearing blue-light blocking glasses and those who are not exposed to bright light. The conclusion indicated almost similar hormone levels in both groups, suggesting that the use of blue-light blocking glasses helps prevent melatonin suppression caused by blue light.
You can also try these tips:
- If you don’t feel comfortable wearing glasses, you can use the blue light filter on your smartphone.
- If it’s possible, avoid looking at bright screens two to three hours before bedtime.
- It is also highly beneficial to engage in regular exercise to maintain healthy blood flow.
- Expose yourself to natural lighting during the day. This will promote sleepiness at night, as well as boost your mood and alertness during daylight.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Regular eye check-ups will help prevent more detrimental problems. Get immediate professional advice via Eva Teleconsult.
Our bread and butter is trusted and reliable online doctor consultation in the Philippines. Our primary care doctors are equipped to conduct remote assessments and provide evidence-based advice. Book an appointment today and get a guaranteed 30-minute consultation at Eva Teleconsult.
Dr. Gyleen Elegio