If blue light and energy-efficient lighting is at odds with our personal health and well-being, how can we take matters into our own hands and correct the situation?
It’s a lot simpler to reduce blue light exposure than we think. Some steps include:
- Switching to fluorescent or LED lights (on the blue spectrum) for dim red lighting - Red lighting has the least effect on the body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin cycles. This is best set up in your place of rest – your bedroom. Dimming switches (with longer wavelength lights) in other areas of the home, including the bathroom, can also help minimise effects of artificial and blue light.
- Making use of technology to influence light exposure – Technology has cottoned on too and developed applications which can be used to automatically switch blue light on screens to that of orange-red longer wavelength light. Applications such as f.lux and eye care browser can be downloaded and set to make use of screens less harmful on the eyes, and body clock as a whole.
- Being more mindful of bright screens before bedtime – Ensure that you discontinue exposure to bright screens at least 1 to 3 hours before heading to bed. No TV, tablets, smartphones, computers or e-readers.
- Using blue light (and light in general) more effectively during the day – Lots of exposure during the day can help to promote better sleep at night, as well as enhance your mood and level of alertness during daylight hours. The effects will surely help cultivate a healthier body clock. If lighting in your place of work is insufficient, the body won’t be at its best either. A dim environment will not adequately stimulate positive effects (alertness etc.). Make use of natural light as well – take a walk or ensure that the environment where you spend the most time during the day has ample light. Move your desk near a window if you must.
- Wearing Blue-blocking glasses (particularly if you're a night-shift worker) – Studies have found these to be effective, not only for those working night-shift jobs, but also those who spend a lot of time using electronic devices at night.