Do Blue-Light Glasses Really Help?


Since the pandemic, the amount of time spent online has increased significantly, whether that be because of work or school becoming 100% online or just an increased amount of binging Netflix. The amount of time spent on electronics has a direct effect on our health and productivity, which can all be linked to a phenomenon known as blue-light emission.

Light from electronics come in all different colors, however, the blue light emitted fools the brain into thinking it’s daytime. This, in turn, causes our body to stop releasing melatonin (our sleep hormone). Melatonin is released during the dark and inhibited during the day, it helps control our circadian rhythm, a cycle which tells us when to wake up and when to sleep. Blue light delays the release of this hormone as it mimics daylight, disrupting our circadian rhythm. Additionally, studies have shown that the blue light emitted from screens can also cause problems with concentration and can lead to damage in retinal cells.

SleepSpec. Melatonin and SleepSpec work together for better sleep. (2020)

In recent years, as screen time increases, some electronics have enabled an option to change light settings during night-time allowing for a warmer/yellow tone. Alternatively, many individuals have invested in blue light blocking (BLB) glasses which are designed to block out the blue light emitted by electronics in an attempt to decrease eye strain and improve health. Despite, this there has been some debate surrounding these glasses and to what degree are they actually effective. New research from Indiana University has found that wearing BLB glasses just before bed can lead to a better night’s sleep and contribute to a better day’s work to follow. Additionally, the media have recently reported on the benefits of BLB glasses for those spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen.

The study drew upon recent developments in the circadian process literature and its related research on chronobiology (a field of biology that examines timing processes, including periodic – or cyclic – phenomena in living organisms, such as their adaptation to solar- and lunar-related rhythms) to study the effects of blue light on sleep and work productivity. The effects of wearing BLB glasses were found to have a stronger impact on night owls compared to earlier risers, this is because night owls tend to encounter greater misalignments between their internal clock and the externally controlled work time. This is not to say that wearing BLB glasses helps early risers too, in fact, the study also found that the use of these glasses is said to improve work outcome as a whole.

Original Source: “The effects of blue-light filtration on sleep and work outcomes” by Guarana, C. L., Barnes, C. M., & Ong, W. J.  Journal of Applied Psychology

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Edited by Cyrus Rohani-Shukla

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