Updated: Jan 21
So you’ve heard the stories and know the facts about sleep; 7 - 8 hours a night is the minimum we should be providing our bodies so our bodies can rejuvenate, repair and recover from everything we put them through.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones that gets to bed in time to shut out the world for this amount of time, is the sleep you are getting quality? Do you struggle to get to sleep once your head hits the pillow or to stay asleep all through the night? Do you actually wake feeling refreshed? Could blue blocking glasses help you sleep better?
We are all too aware that we are soaking up way too many electronic waves through the devices we are constantly starting at and the electronically lit environment we live in. The artificial light we have created manipulates our body’s biological clock - the circadian rhythm. It’s primarily the blue wavelengths being emitted that cause this issue.
We don’t necessarily want to block them at the same level during the day as they are beneficial in boosting attention, reaction times and mood1. So although some reading glasses are now coming with a blue blocking coating, this is to relieve eye strain and the constant exposure to blue light from those on screens all day. This coating is only blocking a percentage of the blue light.
Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that influences your circadian rhythms. If your melatonin is being reduced your body is going to be all out of whack (technical term) and you are likely to experience difficulty getting to and/or staying asleep.
By donning a pair of blue blocking glasses you are allowing yourself to live in the modern, electronically lit environments we create for comfort and encouraging your hormones to behave more like your ancestors.
These glasses are designed to block the blue spectrum of light waves. Ideally you should be putting them on as the sun sets, as this is creating an effect that represents the setting of the sun, allowing your circadian rhythms to be maintained. If you aren’t prepared to put them on before leaving the office in the winter months, at least 2 - 3 hours before you go to bed to allow your body to experience the reduction of light in the surroundings.
So, why can’t you wear your ‘sunglasses at night’? (thanks 80’s pop star Corey Hart).
Brown or yellow tinted glasses bay block the light, but they aren’t specifically blocking the blue light waves. The best way to test your glasses is to look at the reflection in the lens. Proper blue blocking lenses will reflect blue in the lens.
It may feel a little strange at the start - and your dinner takes on a different shade, but the results have been fantastic. I have always had trouble sleeping and have tried many strategies to help myself get to and stay asleep, some of which I still use (most of the time) as part of a good routine.
Since wearing the glasses from the time I get home after work until bedtime I have felt myself become tired even if I have been working later into the night. It feels like a natural tiredness that and that my body is ready and wanting me to retire. It is a positive result for us. We have become a blue blocker zone from sunset and are feeling better for it. Don't worry if you need reading glass es, you can get a pair that goes over your glasses, just like Coby - everyone's covered!
I would recommend anyone who has trouble with sleep, uses electronic devices, or has lights on before they go to bed (well, that’s all of us!) to trial the use of blue blockers and see the difference for themselves!
A massive thank you to Iain Behr of Behr Movement for introducing the concept to us. Our choice of blue blockers is Swanwick available online, check out their blog for more great sleep tips. Iain's choice is Blue Blockers an Australian company.
1. Harvard Health Publishing: www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side