Anyone who follows the content on this blog knows that blue light affects sleep. Lifehacker recently posted an article detailing the evolutionary reasons for the connection between sleep and blue light. They take you back (way back) to the beginning of evolutionary history. The earth, Lifehacker explains, being mostly water, in the early days of evolution, most life lived in the water.
Evolution and Blue Light
Water’s blue color made it susceptible to only certain types of light. The sun’s rays that penetrated deepest into the water, effecting life most directly were, you guessed it, blue. Amber tinted glass reduces the amount of blue light that passes through it, but allows more red and yellow light to pass through. Similarly, the ocean, being blue, reduces the amount of red and yellow light, and allows more blue light.
What this means for you and I is that our life is deeply affected by blue light on a cellular level. Biological life, as it evolved, became cyclical with the movement of the sun. When the sun was up, blue light plunged through, and reflected off the ocean water, and aroused all the cells under and outside the water. The practical effect of this, over time, was the creation of the circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle. The factors that evolved through this process are a protein called melanopsin, and chemical called melatonin. The former controls wakefulness, and the latter sleep. Our eyes, as the medium by which we discern light, are affected by blue light most. The protein melanopsin, which turns off the body’s production of melatonin when daylight hits, is in the eye.
The Science of Sleep Cycle
Blue light controls the cycle by which Melanopsin and Melatonin are released, called circadian rhythm. If our eyes are exposed only to sunlight, with its minimal blue light output, our rhythm will be normal. If we are exposed to other blue light, however, disrupts our rhythm. Exposing the eyes to blue light in absence of the sun causes the activation of melanopsin. Even at bedtime, your brain thinks night has reached its end, regardless of the hour.
Artificial light, and digital screens expose our eyes to excess blue light. Most people, Lifehacker noted, use a digital screen within one hour of bed time. Knowing what we’ve just explained about blue light, such exposure’s effects require no explanation.
Finding A Solution That Works
Returning to a more natural way of living is the best way to fix the issues with sleep caused by blue light. Leave behind technology, live alone in a cabin in the woods. Let the sun wake you up in the morning, and go to sleep when it sets. You probably think this sounds very impractical, and a little crazy. We live in a wonderful world, due in large part to technology. The difficult problems that come alone with modern living do not outweigh the wonderful benefits. Learning to deal with the negatives makes far more sense.
The best solution? Turn off the screens, put away the artificial light, and “detox,” as much as possible. If you can’t just turn it off, then you need a pair of GUNNARS protecting your eyes. GUNNAR uses the same principle explained by Lifehacker in the evolution of blue light and circadian rhythms to combat it. As mentioned in the example above, different colored glass blocks or allows different light to pass through. With a wide variety of high BLPF patented lenses, GUNNAR has you, and your eyes, covered.
Reclaim your sleep, and get GUNNAR today. Pick up a pair of one of the most popular styles we carry: Intercept.