Do blue light blocking glasses really work?

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Does your bedtime routine include scrolling through your smartphone? Instead of helping you unwind and fall asleep, nighttime device use could be the very thing that's keeping you awake.

Why? Smartphones and other digital devices like tablets, laptops, and televisions emit blue light, a wavelength of light that our brains are hardwired to associate with daytime. Blue light is a natural part of sunlight, so when you use your smartphone right before bedtime, it sends your body the message that it's time to wake up rather than fall asleep. This causes your adrenal glands to release stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, which disrupt your natural production of necessary sleep hormones like melatonin -- making it harder to both fall and stay asleep.

This is where blue light blocking glasses come to the rescue! Blue light blocking glasses have unique filters in their lenses that block or absorb harmful blue light. If you use these glasses when looking at a screen, especially after dark, they can reduce your blue light exposure and ensure a restful night's sleep.

How effective are blue light glasses? Very, it turns out! In one study, volunteers who wore blue light blocking glasses three hours before bedtime reported better sleep quality than those who didn't. Another study found that wearing blue light blocking glasses increased the body's production of melatonin, our natural sleep hormone.

Best bets for blue light blocking glasses

1. To give blue light blocking glasses a try, look for ones that block 90% or more of blue light, and also offer UV and anti-glare protection. Lenses are typically amber in color.

2. Avoid narrow or small lenses that allow "light leakage" through your peripheral vision. 

3. You can purchase glasses through your optometrist, especially if you need prescription glasses. For non-prescription blue light glasses, check your local drugstore near the reading glasses display. 

4. For best results, start wearing your blue light blocking glasses at least 3 hours before bedtime. See what a difference these glasses make for you!

Last updated on 03/16/2020