Blue Light Blocking Transition Collection
Blue Light is a Nutrient by Dr. Davie Alingham
Like edible nutrients, light is a nutrient we must be very serious about, albeit topical. There are bad types of light. There are good forms of light. There are bad quantities of different types of light, high, low. There are correct quantities of light.
I will here summarize some of the more important aspects of light as a nutrient, and make scientifically-based recommendations for your consideration.
This is for the purpose of education.
Blue Light Discussion
Light it turns out it is very much like a nutrient. And as we have discovered with the nutrients we ingest, that eating less doesn’t always make you thin, exposing yourself to less light isn’t always healthy. And exposing yourself to excessive amounts of the wrong kind of light can be harmful.
It all starts getting very complicated, so we are actively studying these things. But the great news is we can already make some suggestions that can improve your health.
Light, like edible nutrients, affects your energy level, your sleep, and your metabolism. Much like corn syrup is the junk of what we ingest, bright blue light it turns out is the junk of lighting. So, for starters, in case I lose you early, we need to block out some of the blue light in our day.
The eyes are part of the brain, and that is where the blockage needs to occur.
Blue Blocking Recommendations
Get yellow or orange sunglasses that block some but not all of the blue light for certain hours of the day. Make sure they are blocking no more than 60% of blue light.
Blue blocking sunglasses increase your energy during the day. Use for under three hours.
Blue blocking sunglasses reduce insomnia when used at night. Used for one hour at night.
Blue blocking sunglasses reduce eye stress.
Blue blocking sunglasses minimize the formation of migraines during a stressful day – – the kind of day most of us have.
Here are some of the other conclusions we can make at this time.
If blocking blue light is helping your energy level, and helping your sleep, and helping your metabolism, then, you guessed it, it’s going to help you not feel hungry.
I can attest to this directly. I started blocking blue light about a month ago when I first heard about it harms. And, I would advise the lifestyle I occasionally follow because I’m so busy, but I regularly skip meals. That regularly leaves me hungry, and the biggest effect of this that I experience is aching muscles.
Long story short, I started blocking blue light, and realized that I wasn’t experiencing any muscle pain just having skipped breakfast and lunch one day. Seriously fascinating. It curbed the aches and pains of fasting. And when I realize this, I became tuned into another fact. It curbed satiety. I wasn’t even hungry.
Consistent with this, it has been proven that increased exposure to blue light makes you hungry. Bam. Do you want to block out blue light now? I can hear what you’re saying. You want to black it out altogether. Don’t get carried away.
But Don’t Go Overboard!
Before you turn off or at least reduce much of your blue light exposure, don’t you want to know why this is probably the case. You should. And sure enough, it’s evolutionarily. Evolution explains pretty much most things. Sure enough, it also explains why excessive blue light is bad.
We evolved in the ocean. And these cell like organelles called mitochondria developed inside of us or came in to join us… And as part of our symbiotic relationship, we were forced to keep them happy as they helped us generate energy using electron transfer (another story).
So. Our ancient one celled, bacterial ancestors, in conjunction with our light sensitive mitochondria, float to the surface of the ocean because it’s warmer there during the day – – where they received full spectrum sunlight. Blue, red, infrared, the entire rainbow. Then, nighttime would come, and it would get colder. So we (the bacteria) dropped deeper because we weren’t so drawn to the surface. There, our light dependent mitochondria would get less red and infrared in the depths of the ocean, allowing them and us to enter a more dormant state. This was our natural cycle.
So if we expose ourselves to blue light excesses at night, we are disrupting the cycle. This makes us become less inclined to be dormant at night. Insomnia follows.
If we expose ourselves to blue light excesses during the day without a correspondingly matching amount of infrared, it takes away our energy during the day.
Blue light excesses at night, bad. Blue light excesses during the day (without corresponding infrared amounts), bad.
During the day, blue light excesses with insufficient infrared leads to lethargy. Blue light excesses at night (note: infrared not part of this nighttime equation) leads to unwanted mitochondrial activation, so unwanted energy, and insomnia.
Benefits of blue light
Blue light certainly isn’t all bad.
In babies, the conjugation of bilirubin from an excessive amount of blood is necessary to excrete toxic bilirubin. Well, blue light encourages this waste product formation avoiding jaundice and thus brain damage in the newborn.
Also, there is a critical amount of blue light required to get the wake up signal into the correct part your brain in the morning.
The proper amount of blue light helps you regulate your blood sugar.
There is a 40% increased incidence in breast cancer associated with the wrong types of light exposure. And… Sunlight does not cause this.
Increased risk of stroke before you’re 30. Now there’s a motivator to block out blue light.
We are getting way too much blue light without enough infrared or red light along with it.
So, the big take-home is to block out blue light throughout the day to increase your energy level – but not too much or you can get insomnia. And block out blue light for about an hour at night, and no more, to improve quality of sleep.
Blue light, bad. Brightness, bad, in general. So, bright blue light has been called the corn syrup of lighting.
So, reduce the amount of blue light you get from office lighting, lighting at home, but especially your computer screen, the TV, and your mobile devices.
And sunshine isn’t always up to no good. You definitely need at least some regularly.
But remember, bad doesn’t mean have none of it. And good doesn’t mean have excesses of it. Same goes for blue light.
DAVID ALLINGHAM M.D., MS