Pros and cons of blue light
Blue light coming from gadgets, such as smartphones and laptops, is bad for your overall health. It especially affects the brain at night. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of blue light.
Pros of blue light
- The body uses natural blue light to regulate the biological clock, also known as the sleep-wake cycle/circadian rhythm.
- Blue light also plays a role in basic functions of the human brain, such as alertness, memory, emotion and cognitive performance.
- Phototherapy in the form of blue light waves is a standard treatment used to reduce high levels of bilirubin in the blood of newborns.
- Due to its frequencies that effectively destroy bacteria, some dermatologists use blue light therapy to treat skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea and psoriasis.
- Blue light therapy is also used to help those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression resulting from a lack of daylight in the winter.
- Minimum exposure to morning blue light contributes to better hormone levels, body temperature and digestion.
- Efficient exposure to natural blue light may also play an important factor in eye health and reduce the risks of conditions, such as myopia (nearsightedness).
Cons of blue light
- At night, blue light tends to throw off the body's circadian rhythm or biological clock. With the widespread use of digital devices and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), blue light can result in poor sleep, disturbed sleep and frequent awakenings.
- One of the main ways blue light exposure disrupts sleep is through the inhibition of the hormone, melatonin. After the sun goes down, your body naturally increases the production of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Blue light has the opposite effect. It limits melatonin production, which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. When you use bright electronics at night, you are limiting your brain’s ability to produce your most important sleep hormones. Due to this, your sleep cycle is disturbed, and your brain does not function normally in the morning.
- Research has also shown that a specific band of blue light can be harmful to your eyes. High-energy blue-violet light at the lower end of the visible light spectrum, near ultraviolet (UV) light, has been found to cause significant damage to retinal cells and is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration (which is the deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision).
As frustrating as it is, medical science doesn’t always give us a definitive answer. Studies conducted by medical researchers have been small in scale, so they are not considered conclusive. The following may help limit exposure to blue light
- Blue light is good for us in some ways, but bad for us in others. For the most part, it’s about moderation and timing.
- Taking steps to protect your eyes and limiting your use of devices to daylight hours should keep you safe.
- Anyone who spends significant time looking at screens must consider the impact that blue light exposure has on their health. Screen culture is here to stay but by adopting these simple solutions you can reduce the risks to your vision as well as a host of other physical, mental and emotional disorders.
- To protect yourself, your family and your employees, choose the protective measures that suit your needs and make sure you keep them up. Getting natural sources of blue light will also increase your exposure to other wavelengths of light, which can be better for you overall.
- Finding ways to take care of your eyes indoors, such as using blue light filters and eye lubricants and having screen-free time during the day, will also help your overall health.