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How Blue Light Can Affect Your Sleep

How Blue Light Can Affect Your Sleep

While the debate for whether to make daylight savings permanent continues in Congress, many still have to come up with best practices to help them get used to the transition of hours and how to get a good night’s sleep in the next few weeks. As daylight savings time ended on Sunday, November 6th, this helps for those that are up early for work, so they can see some light. The argument has been made that this could be safer for morning commute during the winter months. This however makes it more difficult in the evenings as it gets darker earlier. No matter which side of the debate anyone stands on, it’s clear that the change of time can wreak havoc on one’s sleep.

One recent finding that has been brought to most people’s attention about our habits that can affect our sleep is blue light from our digital devices. Any digital device you use, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even your TV, emits a blue light. The blue light emitted from the devices is not as damaging to your eyes as the blue light coming from the sun. However any blue light can affect your circadian rhythm, hence affecting your sleep cycle.

Ideally to keep blue light from affecting your sleep cycle, you would want to avoid it at least two hours before bedtime. However, that is much easier said than done. With the majority of the population working right until bedtime, there are other options of how to reduce the effects of blue light on your circadian rhythm. One option, even though not the most efficient, is to put your digital device into Night Shift so it automatically reduces the amount of blue light that is emitted from your device.

A better option would be to use blue blocking lenses. This is essentially a coating that goes on the lenses of your glasses, (whether you have a prescription or not, you can still use them) and they repel or reflect the blue light that would be entering your eyes. You do have to be cognizant of where you purchase these, as not all blue blocking lenses are created equal. At NOVA Optique + Eyecare we use Zeiss lenses. Zeiss has an anti-reflective treatment called DuraVision BlueProtect. This will reflect part of the blue light emitted from digital devices.

A newer product by Zeiss that is even more effective against blue light is the BlueGuard lens. This new lens has the blue blocking technology inherently in the lens. The advantages to this lens as opposed to DuraVision BlueProtect is it has significantly less blue reflection so when others are looking at the lenses they don’t see a blue reflection. Also, it blocks out blue light at a higher percentage than the DuraVision BlueProtect. With the amount of technology use in everyday life, this will most likely be the standard lens used going forward. However, because blue light is blocked, this can alter colors. This is important for anyone that is in a line of work, such as a graphic designer, where color is an important factor.

Technology and digital devices are a part of almost everyone’s life in this day and age. It is important to make sure you protect your eyes and your sleep while using these devices. Make sure you ask your optometrist what the best option is for you at your next eye exam.

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