I’m not sure how mainstream this choice of functionality/style has become over the last few months, but due to the types circles I am personally in, as well as the types of accounts I follow on Instagram, I’ve noticed that these blue light glasses have become a very popular trend as of late. Oddly, they are becoming fairly popular in the fitness scene, presumably because fitness influencers are constantly utilizing technology in order to create content. Many are preaching about the positive attributes of blue light blocking glasses for reducing eye strain. Popular fitness gurus like Christian Guzman and Kinobody often promote these glasses, the latter of which even creating his own brand.
I also have seen a ton of gaming personalities promote blue light blocking glasses, which makes sense considering they spend hours and hours in front of multiple screens daily. Our own featured influential woman Sarah Daniels has currently been encouraging her followers to try them as well (check out her Instagram for a discounted link).
So, are these legit, or just another random “health” trend that doesn’t really amount to anything? It’s easy to formulate an opinion by simply regurgitating what your favorite Instagram personality says, but I wanted to make sure to do my due diligence. So, I’ve not only done a fair amount of research, but have also been using blue light blocking glasses for about 3 months, taking breaks from usage during that time to compare and test their usefulness.
Here are my findings.
As blue is a range of color on the color spectrum, blue light does exist naturally. Its range is from 400-465 nm, the most harmful of this blue light range being between 415-455 nm. Because our bodies are amazing and our eyes are no exception, we have essentially developed a built-in aptitude for detecting when it is daylight via blue light sensory. Simply put, our eyes formulate the equation “blue light = daytime.”
I’m sure you’ve heard of the “circadian rhythm,” but if you haven’t, it is the cycle by which our bodies transition from a phase of alertness to a phase of fatigue, and back again. Blue light helps with this cycle. When our eyes are exposed to blue light, our bodies are more alert. Our attention spans and reaction times are greater, and our mood and emotions are more stable.
Harvard Health studies prove that blue light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep cycles. This is the key to the major drawback of blue light exposure. While blue light is naturally distributed by the sun, it is also distributed by electronic devices. Heavy exposure to our phone, computer, and television screens during night time hours alerts is harmful to our natural circadian rhythm and sleep cycle, because those built-in sensors we have in our eyes alert our brains that it is daytime.
This means that it can be exceedingly difficult to fall asleep, because our bodies are still alert and in day mode. This is where blue light glasses come in. These glasses will block blue light (and usually UV) emissions. When used during the evening and night times, this will help to keep your eyes from sensing “daylight,” and leave your natural circadian rhythm uninhibited.
Additionally, blue light glasses help protect your eyes from the long term effects of significant blue light exposure. Since blue light wavelengths penetrate further into the eye, the retina can be damaged over time, leading to degeneration. Blue light blocking glasses, in theory, will help to slow this process, although the true effect is unknown as it has not been truly tested yet.
As I mentioned, I have now used blue light blocking glasses for a few months. There are times where I consistently remember to wear them every night as I watch TV or browse my phone, and there are days where I forget.
The data I’ve gathered all stems from the use of my Fitbit Charge 3, which tracks my sleep. The Fitbit app on my phone has the ability to read my heart rate from my device, separating my sleep time into four categories: awake, REM sleep, light sleep, and deep sleep. I can see throughout the night at what times I’m in any given sleep type, as well as see how long it takes me to fall asleep.
I can factually say that the nights where I’m wearing my blue light glasses, I consistently sleep better. I can say this because I’ve been testing for 3 months, and have made sure to take note of various factors. Factors include:
- Hours slept: Some nights I may sleep for 9 hours, others I may sleep for 5. You can’t compare a 5 hour night sleep after wearing blue light blocking glasses to a 9 hour sleep after not wearing them.
- Eating habits: I often eat late, so I may have a huge meal right before bed. This will lead to different sleep in comparison with refraining from eating a few hours before bed.
- Activity habits: I workout daily and play soccer often. Currently I have 2 games per week and 2 practices, some earlier and some later. I generally find it harder to sleep when I finish a game at 8 30 or so.
I’ve had enough time to factor in all of these circumstances and can honestly say that given two nights where I have the same length of sleep period, eat the same, and have the same nightly activity level, I will sleep better if I wear my blue light blocking glasses at night. I wake less frequently during the night and my total time awake is significantly less. My REM and deep sleep increases, while my light sleeping decreases. All of this together means that my time asleep as well as my quality of sleep is all improved with blue light blocking glasses.
Test it yourself
I have to say that after research and personal testing, I definitely recommend blue light blocking glasses. Even if you aren’t constantly editing videos, blogging, or gaming, I would wager a guess that you spend more time than you think staring at screens, especially in the evening.
As far as recommendations of brands, there are plenty to choose from. As I mentioned, you can get a discount through Gunnar Optiks if you go through our very own influential woman Sarah Daniels by using code SarahDaniels. I also know a lot of influencers like Christian Guzman promote the MVMT brand glasses (I believe his Instagram has a code as well for a discount). Kinobody also just came out with his own blue light blocking glasses line, which you can find on his website or through his Instagram.
The bonus is you can absolutely find stylish pairs. I shopped around and found some for a reasonable price a while back that have clear frames and fit my face very well. If I wore normal glasses I probably would try for the same style I have in my blue light ones. Shop around, find something you like, and enjoy the benefits. I always say, minimal effort activities or changes we can make that have significant benefits are no-brainers. This is just another of those.