Blue light is all around us. From our computers, TVs, and smartphones to the sun, it’s hard to escape its presence. While blue light can be beneficial in small amounts, too much of it can have a negative impact on your mental health. In this article, we’ll explore how blue light affects your mental health and how you can reduce your exposure to it. Let’s get started.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is a type of visible light emitted from electronic devices like our phones, laptops, tablets, and TVs. It has a shorter wavelength than other types of light, which means it has more energy. This increased energy can disrupt our sleep cycle by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep.
Exposure to blue light at night can also cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. Limiting exposure to blue light at night is important to protect your overall health and well-being. There are several ways to reduce blue light exposure, such as getting blue light-blocking glasses, limiting screen time before bed, and investing in blue light filters for your devices.
How Does Blue Light Affect Mental Health?
Excessive exposure to blue light can have a negative impact on our mental health. The increased energy from blue light can cause stress, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings. Studies have also shown that too much screen time may increase the risk of developing depression or anxiety-related disorders. Below are some ways blue light affects mental health:
- The Link between Light and Mood: Studies have found a link between light exposure and emotional well-being. Too much blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is linked to how you feel emotionally. This disruption can result in feelings of depression, irritability, and fatigue.
- Eye Strain: Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause eye strain and headaches. Over time, this can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety. Studies have also found that blue light exposure can cause damage to the retina, which can result in vision problems.
- Sleep Issues: As mentioned earlier, blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycle. Too much exposure to blue light at night can lead to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. This can result in a lack of energy the next day, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
Ways to Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Limiting your exposure to blue light is essential for maintaining your mental health. Here are some ways you can reduce your exposure:
- Get blue light-blocking glasses: Blue light-blocking glasses are a great way to reduce your blue light exposure without sacrificing the use of digital devices. Look for lenses that filter out 95 percent or more of blue light in the 380 – 450 nm range.
- Dim your screen and increase text size: Reducing the brightness and increasing the text size on your devices can help decrease blue light exposure.
- Install a blue light filter: Many new devices come with built-in blue light filters that can be adjusted to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your device screens. If your device doesn’t have this feature, you can download a blue light filter app like f.lux or Night Shift for Apple products.
- Reduce daytime exposure: Try to limit your digital device use during the day and opt for activities that don’t require screens. Take a break from your devices during the day to rest your eyes and mind.
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This helps to reduce eye strain and blue light exposure.
- Use warm lighting: If possible, keep the lights in your home or workspace a bit warmer — that is, use more yellow-toned bulbs instead of white-toned ones. This will help minimize the amount of blue light you are exposed to in the evening.
- Stay active: Exercise, yoga, and mindfulness activities are great ways to reduce stress and relax during the day without relying on digital devices. Take some time to focus on yourself by staying active outside or in your home.
- Get checked up: If you’re still struggling with your blue light exposure, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor or optometrist. They can help you identify any underlying medical issues that might be causing your eye strain and work with you to develop an individualized plan for reducing blue light exposure.
Blue light exposure is an important issue to consider when it comes to our mental health. Too much screen time can have a negative impact on our emotional well-being, leading to depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. Fortunately, we can reduce blue light exposure and maintain our mental health in several ways. By limiting our digital device use during the day, using blue light-blocking glasses, and exercising regularly, we can maintain a healthy balance between our digital lives and our mental health. With these simple steps, we can ensure that we are striking the right balance and taking care of ourselves.