Posted 4 weeks ago

Blue light blocking glasses

Have you ever seen myself or anyone else wear ‘ridiculous’ looking glasses in the evening? Have you always wondered why on earth we would do this, if it’s not to look cool?

These glasses are known as blue light blockers. For those of you who’ve never heard of blue light, here’s a brief explanation of what it is and how it works:

Our bodies have a natural internal clock, known as circadian rhythm. It determines when your body is primed for being awake or asleep. However, this clock needs signals from our environment to regulate, most importantly: daylight and darkness. It is throughout the day where we are naturally exposed to blue light, which predominantly comes from the sun but the screens we’re surrounded by on a day-to-day basis also produce blue-light.

As such, blue light exposure during the day is not a bad thing at all – in fact, it will actually help you stay alert and boost performance, as well as your mood. However, in the evening, when our body is trying to prepare us for sleep, that can be a problem.

This is because the “sleep hormone” melatonin is produced by the body when it gets dark around us, which in turn tells the body to get tired and prepare for sleep. Blue light is very effective at inhibiting melatonin production, thus affecting the length of time it takes you to fall asleep, and the quality of your sleep. As such, being exposed to a lot of blue light in the evenings can negatively impact on your sleep cycle and sleep quality.

If you’ve read my article on sleep, you’ll know it’s hugely important for gaining muscle and dropping body fat. With that in mind, it would make sense to try and reduce the amount of blue light we are exposed to in the evenings, right?

This is where tinted ‘blue light blocking’ glass can come in very handy. If you wear these for roughly 2 hours prior to sleep, even if you’re exposed to screens (TV, laptop, phone), your brain will not be getting the signal to stay awake; instead, its natural body clock will start preparing itself for sleep.

From personal experience and from recommending blue light blockers to clients, I can certainly say that wearing the glasses definitely improves sleep quality and quantity. Anecdotally, within 30 minutes of wearing them, my eyes feel heavy, I’m much more relaxed and I get very sleepy.

If you have to work late in the evening and don’t have the glasses, you could try using a filter on your laptop/phone known as the f.luk. You could also combine that with turning off all main lights in the evening and, instead, using red/orange lamps or candlelight. These simple tips might help you improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.

In summary, blue light exposure in the evening tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and inhibits the production on melatonin, reducing the quality and the quantity of your sleep. There is evidence to suggest that wearing blue-light blocking glasses may increase your melatonin production in the evening, directly improving sleep quality and quanity as a result.

Will wearing these sorts of glasses bring you magical gains overnight? No. Will wearing these improve your sleep and thus help your body become more efficient at gaining muscle mass and dropping body fat? Yes.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons