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Sleep Debt & Sleep Bank: Your Real-Life E-Tank

Looking for ways to optimize your performance on your favorite games? One of the best ways you can increase your reaction time and cognition is by getting a good night's sleep. We'll discuss the concepts of sleep debt and a sleep bank and how they are similar to an E tank in the Mega Man series. Debt refers to hours of lost sleep accumulating and negatively impacting your performance, while the bank for sleep is an analogy for making deposits (sleep) or withdrawals (staying awake).

Robots Don't Have Sleep Problems - People Do

The Mega Man E-tank in the Mega Man series is an item you can collect while traversing the world. The E-tank will fully restore Mega Man's health when consumed, making him fully-functional again and ready to take on more adventures. Sleep is the human version of an E-tank, where after we sleep, we are fully recharged and ready to take on another gaming session, so it's best to avoid racking up a debt with sleep or depriving yourself of the hours you need.

There are several labels that can be used to describe sleep deprivation. There can be short term sleep debt accrued or long term over the course of a week or more. Short term typically refers to only 24 hours or more of no sleep, while long term is sleeping for a less-than-adequate amount over the period of a week or more.

Studies show that sleep debt increases reaction time, decreases performance, and makes you about as good of a driver as someone under the influence. One recent study placed young adults on a 33 hours awake/10 hours asleep schedule for 3 weeks and observed their reaction times and performance in cognition tests. While they performed better after just waking up from their 10 hour sleep, their times increased from 667 milliseconds to over 2 seconds by the end of the study. (Source: https://www.livescience.com/9799-lost-sleep-study-suggests.html)

The results of this study show that while you may feel better in the short term by catching up on sleep or making a deposit in your sleep bank if you will, you'll still suffer negative consequences over the long term. Sleep is one of the best ways our body heals itself, both mentally and physically, and recharges our E tank in the game of life.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

What are the affects of losing a few hours of sleep per night just to get in more hours of grinding the last level your on for more xp? According to Stanford University Sleep Clinic, sleep deprivation can lead to foggy brain, declining vision and driving awareness, trouble remembering, obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. As we can see, draining your sleep bank and not repaying your debt can lead to a host of problems not worth any of the incremental gains you may see by pulling late nights consistently.

Good Sleep? You Can Bank On It.

 The best way to get back to a normal sleep pattern is to bank extra sleep slowly on a daily basis and not to attempt to fix it all in one weekend. Sleeping an extra hour or so for a period of two weeks can work wonders in repairing your reaction time, speed, and mental acuity. For most normal workers, syncing your sleep cycle with the sun is the one your body most wants to adhere itself to. This may not always make the most sense when your game tournaments and matches may be taking place in a different time zone, so be sure to make allowances for your sleep on the back end of the adjustment. For example, if you need to stay up until midnight on the east coast for a west coast tournament, be sure to sleep in an extra three hours once the tournament is wrapped up.

If you need any more convincing against racking up lost hours of sleep, here are some of the benefits of getting adequate sleep. Studies have shown that while you sleep, synaptic pruning and consolidation of what you've learned throughout the day cements itself in your neurons, making for a stronger memory. On average, those who get more sleep per night live longer than those who stay up past bed time. Getting less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to a dramatic spike in inflammation that leads to arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, sleeping as much as your body needs will ward off disease that may put you out of commission and practice in your favorite games.

In addition to consolidating memories in your brain while sleeping, your brain also reorganizes them which leads to greater creativity and thinking about problems or levels in a different way. Studies have also shown that students who receive adequate sleep get better grades, which means less stress while you're behind the throttle and gaming with your friends. Finally, good sleep can ward off depression and ensure you are functioning at your peak and don't have to fight through emotions when doing that important raid you've been planning for a week.

Conclusion

In summary, sleep will get you farther than any energy drink or caffeine supplements you have on hand. There is no substitute for your body's most natural process. Don't ignore your nightly E tank, and you'll soon find yourself with super human powers, just like Mega Man.

Types of Insomnia: Is Blue Light Making You Blue?

If you're a gamer, this is the time to be alive. Never in human history have we had so many different forms of entertainment to choose from. Whether you like role-playing games, first-person shooters, puzzles or anything else, there's something out there for you to find, become obsessed with and eventually master.

One negative of having all this awesome entertainment at our fingertips is that it can be difficult to put the controller down at night. On the flipside, those who suffer from insomnia often get up and return to the imaginary world within the game to pass the time. It's better than the alternatives, which include binging reality television, lurking on your ex's social-media profiles and staring blankly into the darkness for hours.

Gaming and Insomnia: The Chicken and the Egg

For gamers who are having a hard time getting to sleep at night, it's a bit of a chicken-egg scenario. Are you suffering from insomnia because you play games, or are you playing games because you suffer from insomnia?

The human body has a natural rhythm that aligns with the cycle of the planet. This is called the circadian rhythm. In other words, your brain is trained to wake up with the sun and get sleepy when the darkness arrives. In the modern world, we're always being bombarded with unnatural light, which is one reason many people have trouble sleeping.

Even more than household lighting, it's screen time that's really doing a number on us. Whether it be video games, phones or general web browsing, our time spent connecting to the digital world is having a negative effect on our sleep patterns. Even though we don't consciously notice, screens emit light on the blue wavelength, which tricks the brain into believing that it's daytime. Exciting video games also get the adrenaline pumping, which further contributes to insomnia.

However, before you blame your love of video games for your failing ability to fall asleep, it's wise to examine your troubled sleep pattern and find the true reason for it. While late-night gaming certainly isn't helping, there can sometimes be other reasons for insomnia that shouldn't be overlooked. The first step is learning what type of insomnia you're suffering with.

Types of Insomnia

 1. Sleep Onset

  • With this type of insomnia, you have trouble falling asleep. You might feel exhausted and wish for sleep, but your brain simply won't relax and allow it. You also might feel wide awake when you know you should be sleepy.

2. Sleep Maintenance

  • This type of insomnia involves the inability to stay asleep. As we age, our brains lose the ability to produce melatonin, an important natural hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. Therefore, this type of insomnia is more common among older folks.

3. Early Awakening

  • This is similar to the type we mentioned above, but this type involves unsettling feelings of restlessness in the early morning hours. It's considered a serious form of the disorder and often affects people who are already suffering from depression.

The Causes of Insomnia: Figuring Out the Problem

Short-term Insomnia

  • You had an embarrassing moment at the office, and you can't stop replaying it in your head as you attempt to leave the day behind. You had a fight with your spouse, and you can't stop tossing and turning as you think about some snarky comment he made. You have financial troubles, and you're trying to work out a budget for the following month. Does any of this sound familiar?
  • Most people get mild cases of insomnia from time to time, which are often caused by stress. These cases can last anywhere from a single night to three weeks. It's normal to feel unsettled by stressful incidents in your life, but stress isn't the only problem that can lead to short-term insomnia. As we already mentioned, exposure to screens in the late-night hours can have a negative effect on your brain. If you notice that you're having trouble sleeping after recently spending time gaming in the evening hours, there is most likely a connection there.
  • Short-term insomnia can often be remedied by stress-reducing lifestyle changes, such as meditation, exercise, a relaxing nighttime routine and good eating habits.

Transient Insomnia

  • This is another short-term type of insomnia. What we commonly think jet lag fits into this category, but it can also have other causes. When you suddenly change time zones or sleep patterns, it throws off your internal clock and makes sleeping difficult or outright impossible.

Chronic Insomnia

  • If your insomnia isn't getting better over a long period of time, it's important to visit a doctor. A long-term lack of proper sleep can have serious health consequences. A wide variety of mental and physical problems can cause this issue, including a scary genetic condition called Fatal Familial Insomnia. Luckily, this is extremely rare, and it's unlikely that it's the source of your problem.

Tackling Insomnia - What Next?

If you suspect that your gaming habits are interfering with sleep, don't worry. There are solutions that don't involve quitting your favorite pastime. Along with making an effort to put the game away an hour or two before you plan to fall asleep, you can also invest in devices that filter out blue light and allow you to partake without throwing off your circadian rhythms.

There are all sorts of blue-light filtering techniques, from special monitors designed to emit less of the light to glasses you can wear while you play. There are also devices you can place in front of your monitor, which are among the most comfortable of solutions.

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Health?

Along with eating right, exercising and maintaining a positive mindset, getting adequate sleep is one of the most important things we can do. While we drift through dreamland, our bodies are being repaired and rejuvenated from the inside out. Missing sleep can do more than simply put you in a bad mood the next day. It can cause serious harm to the body and mind.

The Stages of Sleep: You Need the Full Cycle

Are you always tired? Does the sleep you get at night never seem to be enough? Do you wake in the morning longing to spent the day snoring? If so, you might be getting inadequate sleep. Proper sleep involves five stages.

Stage One

  • When you first begin to drift asleep or awake, you?re in stage one. During this stage, you are still partially conscious and can be easily woken up.

Stage Two

  • Your brain waves begin to slow, your temperature drops, your eyes cease to move and your body prepares to enter deep sleep.

Stage Three

  • During this stage, you are fully asleep, and your brain is operating using a pattern of slow delta waves intermixed with faster waves.

Stage Four

  • This is the deepest stage of sleep, during which your brain uses only delta waves.

Stage Five

  • Also known as rapid eye movement, REM sleep is the stage in which you have dreams. Your body is fully asleep, but your mind behaves as if it's awake. This stage occurs after the other stages have been completed.

Most people assume that if they're falling asleep at night, they must be getting the required amount of rest, but this isn't always the case. You might be entering the first few stages of sleep but never reaching the deeper stages, causing your body to carry onward in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. If, along with feeling exhausted during the day, you toss and turn in bed, wake often throughout the night and can't remember having any recent dreams, you might be failing to reach the deeper stages of sleep.

Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation: Don't Neglect Your Health

If you suspect that you're not sleeping properly at night, you don't want to let the problem go. Most people think of insomnia as a nuisance and nothing more, but a long-term lack of proper sleep can have serious physical and mental consequences.

Your Work Life

When you don't get adequate sleep, you can't make smart decisions. You may suffer from memory problems or the inability to focus. You could find yourself struggling during meetings or having a hard time staying on top of the work you need to get done. If your job involves driving or operating heavy machinery, attempting to work in such an exhausted state could be dangerous to yourself and others.

Your Personal Life

Everything is connected. Therefore, if your body and mind are suffering, your sex drive will suffer as well. On top of a loss of libido, sleep deprivation could leave you irritable and depressed, making it harder to work out problems in your relationship. If you?re single, you might lose the motivation to get out and date due to always being tired and feeling down.

Your Ability to Maintain Your Body

Sleep deprivation can lead to dehydration, which is both dangerous and uncomfortable. It's hard to get through a good workout at the gym when you're exhausted, irritable and dehydrated. You'll be more likely to skip working out all together.
There is also the issue of craving foods. Studies have shown that the lack of sleep can contribute to lowered levels of the hormone leptin, which makes us feel hungry. Leptin levels go up as our bodies repair during sleep, which is one reason many people don?t feel hungry for breakfast in the morning. When you skip sleep, you might crave junk food all day, and you?ll likely give in to those cravings to boost your irritable mood. All of this can make it harder to maintain a fit body and active lifestyle.

Your Brain

Your brain creates toxic byproducts as it carries out its various processes. These toxins are handled by your brain's glymphatic system, but when you don?t get proper sleep, your glymphatic system never gets the chance to do its job. This can lead to a buildup of neurotoxins in the brain.
Along with the neurotoxin issue, studies have found that the lack of sleep induces weakness in the blood-brain barrier. This can cause a variety of serious problems, especially for people who take certain medications.

Your General Health

We all have a natural clock that aligns with the cycle of the earth. The genes that control this clock are connected to other parts of the body as well, such as the metabolism and immune system. Without the chance to heal at night, your body will be dealing with more inflammation, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms and illnesses long term.
During the first 24 hours of sleep deprivation, your physical and mental health begin to decline. Your heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your body, and your blood pressure begins to rise. Along with a greater chance of obesity, research has shown that people who are chronically sleep deprived may be more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders and even cancer.

Late-night Gaming and Computer Browsing: Is Blue Light Keeping You Awake?

Now that you fully understand the importance of sleep, you might be looking for ways to make sure you're providing yourself with the best sleep possible. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and it can take some time to fall asleep, so your first step should be setting a reasonable bedtime. Your ideal bedtime will depend on when you need to wake up in the morning, but the most natural routine is to rise with the sun and fall asleep sometime before midnight. If you can't manage that, you can at least check for bad habits that might be delaying sleep whenever you do go to bed.

One of those bad habits is late-night screen time. Whether it's video games, internet browsing or even watching television, studies have shown that staring at a screen can interfere with proper sleep. These screens release light on the blue wavelength, which is much like exposing our eyes to bright sunlight.

For millennia, our bodies have evolved to respond to natural light by waking up. By using electronic devices in the hours before bedtime, we are essentially telling our bodies that we're hours away from being prepared to go to sleep. You might be exhausted, but if your body thinks you?re halfway through your workday, it's going to attempt to remain awake.

This ugly cycle is perpetuated by the fact that blue light exposure blocks the brain from making melatonin, an important natural hormone that helps us fall asleep. This is why taking melatonin supplements can sometimes be a big help. However, not everyone reacts to these supplements very well, and it's always better to seek out more reliable long-term solutions.

Dealing with Blue Light: How to Protect Your Sleep Cycle without Giving Up the Games

While turning off the electronics in favor of a warm bath or an hour of meditation is ideal, not everyone wants to shut off the computer in the minutes leading up to bedtime. Maybe you're absorbed in an awesome new game, or maybe you're working on a big project, and you need to cram as many hours of work in as you can. Luckily, there are devices designed to filter out the blue light and help your body relax into sleep more quickly when you're ready.

Options for blocking out blue light include:

  • Glasses that are designed to cover your eyes and prevent the light from getting in.
  • Special monitors and screens that are made to produce less blue light.
  • Screen-filtering devices, which can be placed on top of the television or computer monitor

Along with making an effort to block blue light, you can also try your best to save the most relaxing activities for later in the evening. If you want to play a video game, choose a calming puzzle game versus an exciting first-person shooter. If you enjoy falling asleep to a movie, make sure it's on the boring side. Better yet, get into the habit of reading a good book before bed.

Can Pokemon Go Cure Your Insomnia?

Pokemon Go is a mobile game that was released on July 6, 2016. During the summer of 2016 the "PoGo" craze swept the world with business owners rushing to register their businesses as PokeStops, and hordes of players descending upon popular parks. Two years later in 2018 the game is going through a renaissance as the developer, Niantic, has improved gameplay and added hundreds of additional Pokemon.

Unlike most video games, Pokemon Go forces the player to get off the couch and step into the real world. You have to keep moving in order to level up throughout the game, and unless you live in the city there won't be anything to catch around the house.

One added benefit of leveling up your in-game character is leveling up your own sleep game. Pokemon Go is the perfect gamification of exercise, and exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and sleep hygiene. But can Pokemon Go actually cure your insomnia? Let's explore this idea.

Video Game Culture and Sleep

If you are an avid video gamer you may be asking yourself, ?Why am I not sleeping well?? According to an analysis of MMO game hours, 75% of gamers play at least 1.9 hours at a day, and 25% of gamers play longer than 4.9 hours per day. Based on an informal survey of SleepXP readers, it's not uncommon for someone to spent 8-12 hours playing a MMO or other game type on the weekend. Though MMOs are only one genre of video games, this data was valuable to help quantify playing habits.

gaming sleep and exercise 1
gaming sleep and exercise 2

According to researcher Brandy Roane, PhD, "...video gaming is quite an important factor that frequently leads to missed sleep for 67% of gamers." Lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your health if it becomes a common occurrence. People that routinely get little to no sleep can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, hormonal changes, and insomnia. Additionally, poor sleep habits can exacerbate existing mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Do you spend more time leveling up your in-game character than yourself?

How Pokemon Go Can Help You Exercise

So what does all of this have to do with Pokemon Go? Well, Pokemon Go is one of the first video games that appeals to all ages and gets people up and moving. Getting regular exercise is part of good sleep hygiene and overall health, and exercise can dramatically decrease insomnia if done properly and consistently. 

Pokemon Go is getting many people who don?t have a regular exercise routine to get up and get moving on a daily basis. They aren?t focused on the exercise portion of the game, but it's an added benefit.

The game incentivizes exercise in a number of ways:

  • In order to hatch an egg you need to walk 2km, 5km, or 10km
  • Some Pokemon require walking to evolve, such as Feebas
  • Your buddy will give you candy if you walk them 1km, 3km, or 5km

Only 16 more candies until I can evolve to Blissey!
That's a LOT more walking.

It's very difficult - impossible, really - to hatch an egg or earn extra candies without walking. The game developer isn?t stupid - they've put controls in place to stop people from cheating or spoofing. While there are no official "speed limits", the Silph Road SubReddit community have extrapolated what these actual limits are - 6.5 mph for hatching eggs and ~20mph for spinning Pokestops. There's no way around it - you have to get movin' to play the game.

Pokemon Go also has a great way of spacing out the PokeStops and Gyms. There are some high populated areas where they are more dense than others, but generally they are spaced out enough so you are encouraged to walk. It seems ridiculous to drive a tenth of a mile to get to the next PokeStop, so you might as well get off your butt and walk. The game also has a feature so you can?t just sit and spin the PokeStop repeatedly and gain items - it takes about 5 minutes for you to be able to spin it again. During that time, you might as well walk to the next Gym or PokeStop.

You can stay in one spot for a while when you are battling in a Gym or competing in a raid. However, those both usually last only a few minutes, and then you are out and about moving again to the next destination. You are more than encouraged to keep moving throughout the game to catch the best and the most Pokemon.

Best Times for Exercise

While the effects aren?t usually immediate, regular exercise helps increase the production of melatonin, which is a hormone your body creates to help you get to sleep and stay asleep. Exercise is best done in the morning so that your melatonin will kick in around the time you should be going to sleep. However, it can also be effective if you prefer to exercise in the afternoon or at night as well.

If you are someone who prefers to get your exercise (or Pokemon hunting) done at night, this isn?t a huge problem. First, be sure to get a blue light filter for your phone. Second, there are a few things you might need to do in order to get your body relaxed and ready for bed, such as wearing special blue light blocking glasses 30-60 minutes before bed. Having a regular bedtime routine and doing the same thing every night before you go to bed will let your body know it needs to wind down. In addition, doing a few deep breathing exercises as you are laying down slows down your heart rate and calms your mind and body. When it comes to getting in your exercise, do what works best for you and stay consistent.

Conclusion

If Pokemon Go is played correctly, it could in fact help cure your insomnia. Multiple studies show after a few months of consistent exercise, adults with insomnia fell asleep quicker, slept longer, and had better sleep quality than before they started exercising. If you play the game on a daily basis and make it a regular habit to walk from Gyms to PokeStops, you will be getting a lot of fun exercise and level up your own sleep game.

In order to really succeed at Pokemon Go, you need to get up and get move. If you don?t, how are you possibly going to catch them all?

How Does Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?

We could accomplish so much if we just cut out sleep from our daily schedule. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But that?s essentially what folks are doing by using their electronic devices at night. Today we'll discuss not letting blue light affect your sleep.

Why do we need to sleep, anyways? As the saying goes, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Not exactly a wise idea.

Sleep is a critical time when our bodies replenish and repair the wear and tear from our daily activities. This happens at a cellular level. Little bots who live in our organs get to work with little brooms, sweeping off our cells and put our building blocks back into place. 

But what if you're doing things that cause your body to not fall asleep? How does blue light affect your sleep, and what changes can you make to level up your sleep game?

Blue Light and Circadian Rhythm


Almost every one of us depends on the convenience that our gadgets offer. It?s not entirely a bad thing, since smartphones, tablets, and computers definitely add to our quality of life.  Our productivity goes up, making a lot of lives and tasks much easier.

However, is too much of a good thing a bad thing? To put it plainly, yes. In this case, too much of a good thing can have severe effects on those who unwittingly use this new technology without the proper habits or protection.

Light, before anything else, is a stimulus.

Natural light from the sun is very balanced in terms of composure. This means that it has just the right amount of blue light that the body can handle safely, since the human body has had hundreds of thousands of years to adapt to it.

Artificial light, on the other hand, refers to any sort of lighting that is man-made. The light given off by electronics tends to give off more blue light. The body reacts to this blue light similarly whether it comes from the sun or a cell phone.

Ultimately, blue light coming off our electronic devices can affect our body's balance and disrupt our circadian rhythm.

What is Circadian Rhythm and How Does It Work?


How does our body know when it is time sleep? It depends on our circadian rhythm, which is our body?s natural clock. It's how our bodies know how to wake up in the morning, when to eat, when to think about big problems, and when to sleep.

Our clocks are re-synced by the rising of the sun. Body clocks average 24-hour-cycles but can range from 22-26 hours. There are rhythms and oscillations that take place over the day.

The circadian rhythm is influenced by light sensitive retinal proteins that trigger signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN for short. The SCN is a group of cells that lives in the hypothalamus, just above your mouth?s hard pallet. It receives info from the retina, influenced by light, to promote sleep or wakefulness. 

Based on the signals it receives, the SCN then sends a message to the pineal gland to release melatonin. What is melatonin? Melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, is mostly produced during nighttime. It's responsible for making us feel drowsy and also reducing our body's temperature at night.

While our bodies are constantly influenced by neurochemical changes of our ?chemical soup?, our eyes are extremely sensitive to light, and respond by increasing melatonin when there is less light to activate the SCN. This works in the reverse - when our eyes detect light, mainly in the morning, our body slows down the release of melatonin so we can wake up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, as we drag ourselves to the coffee maker.

If artificial blue light slows down the body's natural production of melatonin at night, do you see how that can affect your sleep quality and getting to sleep quickly?

Can Blue Light Cause Insomnia?

According to research, excessive light can disrupt our normal sleep cycle. Many studies report blue light disrupts sleep. There is a plethora of science to back up these claims.

Conclusion

There?s no denying that proper sleep is one of the many keys to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. If one doesn?t have the ability to cut back on using electronic devices during resting hours, then it?s necessary to take additional precautionary measures.

Making a small investment and purchasing a blue light filter can yield incredible results. As of 2018, there?s no better way to counter the negative effects of blue light exposure than blue light filters.

Blue light filter glasses are a fantastic choice for a number of reasons. They are highly portable, relatively cheap, and have incredibly positive results on one?s health. Depending on the model you could even make fashion statement.

Blue light filter panels are also an excellent alternative. Putting one on the TV can be the difference between a cozy nap on the couch while watching Doctor Who reruns and visiting the doctor for prescription glasses. So please, take these small, efficient steps and improve your quality of life.

If you're a heavy computer user for work or play, your best bet is to get a low blue light monitor that has special blue light reducing features, or a flicker-free screen to decrease eye strain.

Whatever option you choose, take care of your body and limit the amount of blue light you receive. By following this advise you'll sleep better and no doubt Level Up Your Sleep Game.

What is Blue Light?

Simply put, blue light is just a color that can be seen by us because it is part of our ?visible light spectrum.? Blue light is something that is all around us all of the time and it is both beneficial and problematic for us for a few different reasons.

Today we are going to be looking at the science behind blue light, where blue light can be found and the problems that it can cause.

The Science

One of the most important things to remember about light is that it can be broken down into electromagnetic particles that all travel in waves. The waves themselves have different wavelengths that can be either short or long, and they are all capable of emitting different amounts of energy.

Generally speaking, wavelengths that are shorter have a higher amount of energy and wavelengths that are longer have less energy.

Where is Blue Light

When we look at different wavelengths and try to turn them into diagrams, they are usually all represented by different colors. On a scale you would find colors like red and orange at the right hand side and colors like blue and violet at the left hand side. The left-hand side also ventures into the non-visible color spectrum, which includes wavelengths that our own eyes cannot see at all.

This ?diagram? is considered by most to be our electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum includes a number of different categories, ranging from x-rays, gamma rays and UV rays to visible light, infrared waves and radio waves.

So, where does blue light come into this? When we break all of the colors down in the spectrum we can see violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, in that order. Blue is close to the non-visible side of the scale and it has an incredibly short wavelength.

 As you already know, a short wavelength means that blue light emits a lot of energy. Over the past few decades, a lot of different studies have proven that blue light does long-term damage to our eyes and can affect our health in a number of other ways.

Where is Blue Light?

Blue light is not a supernatural foe that we should avoid at all costs. It is something that surrounds us on a daily basis. Have you ever wondered why the sky looks blue? It looks blue because of the blue light wavelengths hitting molecules of air in our atmosphere, causing blue light to scatter across them. The sun and our own atmosphere cause this to happen and create skies that we associate with beautiful, sunny days.

The fact that this natural form of blue light exists is actually really beneficial for us as humans. It has led to us using blue light to regulate our own circadian rhythm, or our natural cycles of both being asleep and being awake. Blue light is even known to make us feel more awake. It can also make us happier and speed up our own reaction times.

How could this natural blue light possibly be a bad thing? In reality, the natural blue light that we are exposed to is not the problem. The unnatural blue light that we are exposed to is.

Unnatural blue light comes from a variety of different sources, including digital screens like televisions, computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. It is also emitted by both florescent and LED lights.

What is the Problem with Blue Light

What is the Problem with Blue Light?

The problem with blue light can be seen when we look at it as short wavelengths with incredibly high amount of energy behind them.

The high energy actually makes them flicker a lot more than other wavelengths on the electromagnetic scale. This flickering creates a type of wave that affects both the sharpness and clarity of what you are looking at if you are looking at a screen that emits blue light.

Unfortunately, this is something that can cause an array of problems including eyestrain, headaches, migraines and physical fatigue. It can also cause mental fatigue and affect your mental wellbeing. As we are sure you can imagine, this is something that could affect your actual ability to work and your overall productivity if you are at work.

Our eyes are not able to filter blue light out on their own, nor will they evolve to do this over thousands of years. We rely on blue light to keep our circadian rhythm in time and to keep our bodies healthy, but prolonged exposure to blue light can also damage the retinas in our eyes and cause premature degeneration of the eyes themselves.

FINAL VERDICT

Luckily, with every problem that appears a solution shortly follows. The main problem with blue light and our eyesight is that fact that we constantly expose our eyes to electronic screens.

By using a filter, you can stop your devices from emitting as much blue light as they usually do, and by wearing blue light filter glasses you can make sure that your eyes are protected in more ways than one. If you are a heavy computer user, consider getting a low blue light monitor for your home or work to help decrease eye strain.

Three Part Series on Blue Light

What are the Effects of Blue Light?

Blue light is something that surrounds us every single day. It is the thing that makes our sky look blue and because of that, it does some wonderful things for our bodies. But, it is also emitted from a range of different electronic devices and that can cause it to create havoc and mayhem inside of our bodies.

Effects of Blue Light - The Positives

Blue light is part of our electromagnetic spectrum. It can be seen as part of our ?visible light? area, but it is only a few steps away from our ?non-visible light? area.

This makes it quite dangerous because it means that it has short wavelengths and short wavelengths have a lot of energy, whereas, red light has long wavelengths and does not have much energy behind it because it is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Best things about blue light

One of the best things about blue light is that it is directly responsible for our circadian rhythm. Our own exposure to blue light can affect our circadian rhythm a lot, but when that blue light comes from our own sun it makes sure that our sleep and wake cycles are both functioning naturally. This ensures that we are not losing out on sleep that we should be getting? unless we have to get up for work with an alarm clock of course.

Blue light is also known to make us feel much more alert and it can affect our reaction times. It can also help to elevate our mood whenever we are feeling down about something. This also explains why people get the winter blues when there are fewer blue skies and more dark nights around.

The Negatives

Blue light might sound wonderful. It can keep our bodies balanced and our minds healthy. It ensures that we sleep when we are supposed to sleep and that we wake up when we are supposed to wake up. It keeps us energized and gives us the ability to react quickly to a range of different situations.

But, blue light is also dangerous and has a negative effect on our bodies. This is because a lot of artificial blue light is emitted from our computer monitors, phones, and other devices that we use on a daily basis.

Blue light is emitted by televisions, monitors, computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones and certain types of lighting. How often do you use your mobile phone every day? Most people use theirs a lot, and every single time they do they are affecting their body.

Artificial blue light

Artificial blue light can negatively affect your circadian rhythm because it lowers the production of melatonin inside of the brain. Melatonin is the hormone that lets your body know that it is time to sleep.

When less of it is produced, you will be less likely to sleep. In a natural situation, your body would start to make more melatonin as soon as the sun sets, but the blue light that is being emitted by electronic devices means that most people don?t start producing enough melatonin early enough.

Our bodies cannot filter in modern technology and work out new ways to behave so we have to help them. For example, by limiting your exposure to electronic devices at night you could help yourself get a better sleep. Researchers have also proven that prolonged exposure to blue light can cause symptoms like eyestrain and eye fatigue.

These are both important things to consider because we rely on technology in the modern world. A lot of people spend their working hours in front of a computer and their personal hours watching television or playing computer games. All of these activities can cause eye strain and eye strain can cause people to become unproductive and unhappy.

One of the things that researchers noticed about this is that a lot of people will simply ?put up with? strained eyes. They might notice that their eyes are uncomfortable, but they probably will not do anything productive about it.

They might have to use a screen frequently, or using a screen could be how they get enjoyment. Naturally, if your eyes are being affected in this way you should do something before your workflow is negatively affected.

Your vision could also start to become blurry due to the exposure to blue light. Blurry vision can make it hard to see what is going on on your screen and that can make it difficult to do anything. Blurred vision can also cause migraines that could make you feel like you need to sit in a dark room.

FINAL VERDICT

The problem with blue light and how it negatively impacts our bodies is that most people will simply ignore it and wait for it to go away. Unfortunately, the lasting impact of blue light exposure can be seen in a lot of different studies, where things like degenerative eye problems are quite common.

You should take the steps that you need to take to protect your eyes. Use a filter to stop the blue light that is emitted from your screen from ever reaching your face, or use a pair of blue light filter glasses to stop a lot of blue light from reaching you. Remember that not all blue light is bad, but some blue light is more than enough.

Three Part Series on Blue Light

What is a Blue Light Filter?

We are all aware of just how dangerous unnatural sources of blue light can be. Blue light reaches a part of our eyes that is so deep that it can damage the retinas inside of the eyes over time. It can also cause a lot of eye strain and mental fatigue, both of which impact your overall ability to work and have fun. Luckily, blue light filters claim to be able to solve all of these problems. But, what are they?

Blue Light: The Facts

Blue light exists as part of our electromagnetic spectrum. Each of the colors in the spectrum has a different wavelength and each wavelength emits a different amount of energy.

Blue light has a relatively short wavelength and short wavelengths are known to emit a lot of energy, whereas rays at the opposite end of the spectrum (the red side) have longer wavelengths and emit less energy.

Blue Light The Facts

You might be wondering what you can do to avoid blue light altogether, but that isn?t really an option. Sunlight contains blue light and blue light is actually the thing that makes our sky look blue. But, there are also a lot of unnatural forms of blue light. These include fluorescent lights, flat-screen televisions, computer screens, smartphones, and a number of other electronic devices.

One of the main problems that we experience due to blue light is a form of digital eyestrain. This occurs because blue light scatters a lot and makes it hard for our eyes to focus on the source. Scientists have also found that most people simply ignore digital eyestrain, brushing it off as ?just one of those things? and carrying on with whatever it is that they were doing.

One of the most worrying things about blue light is that it also affects our circadian rhythm, our sleep and wake cycle.

If the only blue light that we were exposed to was from the sun, then that would be fine. But, we are exposed to a lot of blue light from unnatural sources after the sun has gone down. This stops our brains from producing as much melatonin, the sleep hormone, as they otherwise would, and makes it much more difficult for us to sleep.

Regardless of all of this, blue light is also beneficial for us. A lot of research has been done into the topic and it has found that blue light makes us much more alert, helps us to remember new information and increases our reaction times.

Blue light is also used frequently to treat SAD, the seasonal affective disorder where people experience low moods when they are exposed to less sunlight.

Blue Light Filters

The Blue Light Filter

When it comes to blue light filters, there are two different options that most people are willing to consider. They come in the form of screen protectors that cover the source of the blue light and glasses that cover your eyes to reduce their exposure to blue light.

Everyone would benefit from using at least one of those filters to protect their eyes. For example, if you work in an office building and use a computer for most of the day, then you would benefit from using a screen protector that you can simply place over the screen of your computer. This will help reduce the amount of blue light that can reach your eyes.

Blue light filters like this can be used on your phone, tablet, computer screen and even your television in order to prevent a large proportion of the blue light that is being emitted from them from ever reaching your eyes. It is worth noting that a lot of different blue light filters are made out of tempered glass, meaning that they can also protect the devices that they are covering.

Blue light-blocking computer glasses are special-purpose glasses that you can get without the need to see an optician. These glasses can also be worn if you routinely wear something like contact lenses.

A lot of different blue light blocking glasses are also capable of reducing glare and making sure that things do not reflect off of them, protecting you from both natural sunlight and blue light.

It is worth noting that you can also purchase things like anti-blue lightbulbs to protect yourself inside of your home. This is especially useful if you find yourself turning your lights on a lot at night.

FINAL VERDICT

Try to remember that, while not all exposure to blue light is bad, constant exposure to unnatural sources of blue light can be incredibly detrimental to both our physical and mental health.

Blue light filters should be used as a precautionary measure to protect your eyes, especially in the digital era that we all live in. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to go wrong with our eyes and unnatural exposure to blue light is not worth the risks that come with it.

Three Part Series on Blue Light