What is blue light?
White light is the luminescence given off by the sun, the LEDs and the fluorescent lights at your home. White light is also known as visible light and is composed of seven colours. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet are also known as ROYGBIV.
Of these seven colours, blue light is important. It affects us in many ways:
- Boosts alertness
- Helps in memorising things
- Improves attention span
- Enhances our mood.
Where is it found?
We may not be able to perceive it, but blue light is all around us. It is emitted by the sun, the largest source of any light (surprise, surprise), our phones, laptops, TVs and other electronics with a screen you can imagine. Blue light is emitted by any and all-natural and artificial sources of light.
How does it affect us?
As mentioned above, blue light helps our attention and alertness, boosts cognition and memory and enhances our mood. But the most crucial effect is how it influences our circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm or cycles are essential mental and physical cycles that happen over 24-hour periods. Some examples include the sleep cycle and hormone cycle. These cycles are controlled by a ‘master clock’ in the brain. It infers time-based on the light that our eyes detect.
During the daytime, the presence of blue light is higher. This prompts the brain to release cortisol, a hormone that keeps us alert and focused.
On the other hand, in the evening, the presence of red light signals that the day is ending. This induces the release of melatonin, the hormone that causes us to feel sleepy.
It must be evident that as the day progresses, cortisol decreases while melatonin increases. This causes us to feel less alert and more tired as night approaches.
The electronic devices we use emit blue light. This tricks the brain into thinking that it is daytime, thus leading to the release of cortisol. This negatively impacts our sleep cycle. It could lead to us falling asleep much later and feeling tired the next day.
How to prevent the adverse effects of blue light?
While blue light is necessary during the daytime, it is necessary to avoid it as much as possible during the evening and night. This could be done in a few ways:
- Using screen filters to block out blue light.
- Using night light or night mode feature on our electronics.
- Avoid using any electronics at least 1 hour before your sleep time.
“Too much of anything is bad”, they say. Blue light affects our bodies in many ways. On the one hand, it boosts memory and cognition, but on the other hand, it disrupts our sleep cycle. It is important to regulate exposure to blue light. This can be done easily if you regulate your sleep cycle. This can be done by having a fixed sleep schedule. Sleeping and waking up at the correct time are crucial for optimal health. Using the Soulful Sleep strips from The Himalayan Yeti about an hour before you sleep in addition to the above measures will ensure you wake up feeling refreshed.
Frequently asked questions
Where is blue light found?
A: Blue light is emitted by any object that gives out light. The sun, your phone, and your laptop all emit blue light.
How does blue light affect us?
A: Blue light enhances cognition and memory. But it also hampers your sleep cycle if you are exposed to it at night.
How to prevent exposure to blue light?
A: Using night mode and screen filters on your electronics helps. But it is better to avoid any usage of electronics at least an hour before sleeping.