RA Optics Kids Blue Light Filtering Glasses

How Filtering Blue Light Can Improve Your Sleep Quality: The Importance of Circadian Rhythm

In a world increasingly filled with social media, video games and television, we find ourselves under a constant barrage of artificial light; particularly the notorious blue-light emitted from screens A growing body of scientific literature continues to show how this seemingly harmless light can disrupt a delicate, ancient dance within our bodies–our circadian rhythm. 
Our awareness of blue light is one of several ways that we improve our family’s sleep quality.

But what is blue light? How is it that a specific wavelength or color of light, something we can perceive only through sight, can be so detrimental to our sleep and health? Let’s find out!

What is Blue Light?

The evolution of the human body has been deeply interwoven with the natural cycles of day and night. For eons, our circadian rhythms have been attuned to the sun’s natural progression, with exposure to bright, full-spectrum sunlight during the day and darkness at night. However, the advent of artificial lighting has disrupted this balance, and the widespread use of blue light-emitting devices, such as smartphones and computers, has become a major culprit.

Blue light, with its short wavelength, is most prevalent in midday sunlight and helps stimulate the production of hormones such as cortisol to maintain wakefulness and mental alertness. In natural environments throughout evolution, blue light has always been balanced with low-frequency infrared light which provides a healing counterbalance to the high-energy blue and green end of the spectrum.

Blue light is understood to be the main portion of natural sunlight which is responsible for signaling information about the external environment to our brain. This includes information about what time of day it is based on the intensity and amount of various wavelengths of light. When blue light enters our eyes, it acts as a signal to the brain that the sun is rising high into the midday sky, and causes us to produce the hormones and neurotransmitters such as cortisol and serotonin to promote wakefulness.

So, How is Blue Light Harmful?

So, if blue light has been present in our natural environment since the dawn of time, how can it be harmful?

Of course, long before the advent of artificial lighting, this high-intensity light would be absent from our environment as the sun sank towards the horizon and eventually set. When exposed to these short wavelengths of light in the evening, especially after sunset, our body fights the natural cadence of waking and resting with the sun, thus suppressing the bodies ability to regulate hormones in preparation for sleep. For example, production of melatonin is reduced during daylight hours.

Melatonin, the hormone known to be responsible for decreasing metabolic activity, slowing down our brain waves, and putting us to sleep. Melatonin of course is also responsible for cellular repair; it is the body’s most important antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-cancer molecule. Without sufficient melatonin production, we are liable to experience countless downstream physiological effects including restless nights, mood dysregulation, impaired cellular function and so on.

Filtering blue light improve sleep quality

Sunlight and Circadian Rhythms

This delicate and ancient cycle of waking and resting in accordance with natural light has a name; you’ve likely heard of it! Our circadian rhythm is our body’s internal, roughly 24-hour “biological clock,” that regulates various physiological processes, including sleep-wake cycles, hormone production, and body temperature. Among other signals, such as the timing of meals, our circadian rhythms are primarily influenced by exposure to natural sunlight, particularly the blue light spectrum present in the midday sun.

Unfiltered sunlight provides a healthy dose of blue light that helps synchronize our internal clocks with the external environment. This synchronization not only regulates our sleep patterns but also affects mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. The benefits of exposure to natural light are vast, ranging from improved sleep quality to enhanced cognitive function and mental health.

When it comes to blue light exposure, timing and balance are key.

Blue Light and Bedtime

The disruption of circadian rhythms can have profound consequences. The developing child is particularly sensitive to environmental cues, even something as seemingly trivial as the lighting in our homes. A well regulated sleep-wake cycle is crucial for maximizing the rest and recovery that a growing body needs for healthy development. Alongside proper amounts of unfiltered sunlight each day, proper protection from blue light sources provides powerful protection against disturbances in a child’s circadian rhythm.

For bedtime routines, exposure to blue light before sleep can be particularly harmful. The suppression of melatonin production can delay the onset of sleep, leading to difficulty falling asleep and shorter sleep durations overall. This can, in turn, affect mood, cognitive function, and academic performance in children and be an additional stress to parents.

Filtering blue light improve sleep quality

So, How To Be More Mindful of Our Blue Light Exposure?

The first is obvious. Minimize screen time, particularly in the evenings. Our family limits screen time after our kids get home from school, and definitely at least 2 hours before bed. 

Second, consider the nightlight you’re using for your kids and be sure to pick one that includes no blue light. We love this LED Night Light by Harth.

Another way to strike a balance between our natural rhythms and our modern environments is to invest in some high quality blue light protection eyewear. Ra Optics has created a line of premium glasses with a range of styles for adults and children.

The lenses in Ra Optics glasses have been designed to block the wavelengths of light that can disrupt our sleep. Using pigment blends formulated to selectively absorb the high energy blue light, the glasses return our eyes to a light-environment that is more compatible with our intended exposure. While properly filtering out the unwanted blue wavelengths, these lenses still transmit the harmless and healing low frequency wavelengths of light to create an optimized experience for the user. These glasses are an investment, but they actually work. Many of the cheaper versions that you can find on Amazon don’t actually block blue light.

My husband, Tarek, and I wear our Ra Optics glasses around the house all the time, and we recently invested in glasses for our kids. They have truly been a game changer for our sleep quality, brain functions, and eye health. You can use code MSHF10 for 10% off your entire order.

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