When To Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses & 4 Levels of Potency
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If you are reading this article, then you should have some interest in getting a pair of blue light blocking glasses, or you have already bought them, and you want to find out the best ways in which to use them.
Ideally, you will want to sync up to a natural circadian rhythm and put your glasses on when the sun goes down.
If you don’t have blue light glasses and you are just sat up on your phone in bed reading random articles for the craic. Then you have stumbled onto the right article because you definitely need some of these glasses, haha.
What is blue light and why should I care?
Blue light is just a part of the light spectrum, and we have been exposed to it for millions of years throughout our evolution.
Throughout this time, we were exposed to blue light through sunlight, and we have developed synchronicity with the sun and the moon.
So much, so our circadian rhythm is dependant on these external influences.
Being exposed to light will trigger biological and hormonal responses that will wake us up, and darkness with the absence of blue light will trigger sleep responses like the production of melatonin.
Humans are not unique in this, all living things seem to have these biological clocks.
These Biological Clocks “are organisms’ natural timing devices, regulating the cycle of circadian rhythms. They’re composed of specific molecules (proteins) that interact with cells throughout the body. Nearly every tissue and organ contain biological clocks. Researchers have identified similar genes in people, fruit flies, mice, plants, fungi, and several other organisms that make the clocks’ molecular components.” (1)
So basically, natural blue light is a very important aspect in humans maintaining good health.
However, we have only recently (evolutionarily speaking) introduced artificial blue light into our lives.
Artificial blue light comes from electrical lighting and screens from things like TVs, Computers, and Mobile Phones.
This artificial blue light comes in a much more concentrated form and a narrower range on the light spectrum.
This has been shown to potentially damaged the eyes in the long-term but can have immediate negative effects on sleep patterns. Which in turn can lead to many health problems. (2)
It seems the further we become disconnected from nature, the more health issues we have.
You can see that with the obesity epidemic. As our food supply becomes more processed and unnatural the worse our health seems to become.
For instance 70% of the population in the USA are obese. (3)
Then when you go to a more natural diet like Paleo, Keto and the Carnivore Diet your health starts to improve.
What do blue light glasses do?
Blue light blocking glasses will filter out blue light, both natural and artificial.
How much of this light a pair of glasses will filter out varies on the glasses? So, don’t just buy the cheapest pair you can find.
Personally, Ben Greenfield and I use glasses from RA Optics. I have found them to be beneficial, and my sleep has improved. They use very high-end glass for their lenses and put the lenses through rigorous testing.
Wearing blue light glasses has been shown to get you back in sync with your Circadian Rhythm and everything that entails, as the timing and quantity of melatonin production… which is basically the sleep hormone.
Still not sure about blue light blocking glasswear? Then read this article:
When should I wear blue blocking glasses?
Presuming blue-blocking glasses do what they say they do and presuming that promotes good health…
When and where should we wear them?
You should wear them anytime you are looking at anything that produces artificial blue light, or you are under any artificial lighting in your home, at work, or at leisure.
So even if it is daytime, if you are looking at a screen then put your glasses on.
It’s not advised to wear them if you are exposed to natural blue light from the sun, as already described natural blue light is an important tool in trying to achieve optimal health.
When the sun is out it provides a full spectrum burst of light and that is the good stuff.
Waking up early to watch the sunrise (without blue blockers) is “next level.”
You should wear them as soon as it gets dark, in any situation in which you are not subject to natural light only.
By this, I mean moonlight and firelight. So regardless if you are cooking your kid’s tea with the lights on in the early evening, or if you are binging Netflix until 2 am… pop those glasses on.
Most biohackers prescribe that 2-3 hours seems to be a sweet spot between helpfulness and practicality. Options 1 and 2 are better, but they might be harder to adhere to.
This level should be easy to stick to, but you still get tangible and noticeable benefits to sleeping quality and quantity.
So, if you always go to bed at 10 pm, then set the alarm on your phone for 8 pm to remind you to put them on.
Anything is better than nothing
When its dark and when you are using artificial screens and lighting, just use them as often as possible.
If you cannot commit to a set schedule because of work, family, or social reasons… don’t just discard them completely.
Just do your best. It will be harder to get consistent and noticeable benefits, but it is still worth using them.
It is difficult to wear blue light blocking glasses too much, and they have not been proven to do any harm to your health. However, there may be situations where they are not advisable.
Be practical and use common sense. Suppose you do a lot of driving during the day or use machinery. Then I wouldn’t recommend using glasses before and during those activities, as blue light does help you stay awake and alert.
If you do shift work, then you have even more variables to consider than most people and you are going to need to think about how to use the glasses in a productive and safe way.
And of course don’t be a dummy and use them while driving at night. The lenses can really darken your vision.
50 Shades of Yellow
The cool thing is that most of the blue light blocking eyeglass companies have different shades of lenses. Some are stronger than others.
Then, of course, they have the orange tinted glasses, which block almost all of the blue light, but they are difficult to use during work. I only use the orange tint glasses when I am at home.
Sometimes glasses are not the best solution for blocking blue light. Especially when talking about computers, laptops, and smartphones. You really need to read this article on how to protect yourself best:
For example, a farmer might have a pretty decent circadian rhythm as they are generally up early and spend a lot of time outdoors. So, they might just need them for a couple of hours before bed.
Whereas an office worker who plays a lot of computer games at night will likely need to wear the glasses for a lot longer.
Experiment. Track. Adjust.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. This is not medical advice.