Linked to sleep disruptions, low mood, visibility problems, wellbeing risks and mental health concerns, the effects of blue light are in fact invisible through the prevalent noise of screen time. After all, we’re tuned to search, communicate, engage with, and delve into the technology of a sort.
Yet the invisibility of blue light is causing visible long-lasting effects, when consumed in the night, reducing its credibility as a daytime asset. Such effects are connected with mental health, risks of depression and further cognitive vulnerabilities.
Here’s the link between blue light and our mental health for insight into its effects, along with ways to prevent the impacts of blue light through protective means. For support through poor mental health, no matter the cause, we are here for you at Asana Lodge.
What is blue light?
With its own energy, strength and wavelength, blue light falls within the spectrum of light, commonly produced by technological devices. It’s a short wavelength, which through daily consumption is known to attract and maintain attention, along with boosting mood.
Yet through nightly exposure to blue light, there are concerns over vision, mood, sleep, and mental health.
Exposure to blue light will be found through devices such as tablets, laptops, TVs, smartphones, and artificial lights. Although such exposure is found to be beneficial in the day, the link between blue light and our mental health in the night shares a different side to blue wavelengths.
The link between light and mood
Lighting is known to impact mood, due to the natural production of chemicals and the stability of brain structure that each form of light motivates. Natural UV lighting, through safe exposure, is found to uplift mood, by influencing positive messaging through the central nervous system, while activating organic chemical production.
For blue light, such effects are different, where its presence is known to disrupt the natural functionality of the brain, suppresses the stability of neurotransmitters, and also impact the quality of sleep. The effects of blue light are found to trigger the risks of unstable mental health, especially when exposure is consistent.
Blue light and our mental health
Exposure to blue light, in the daytime, is beneficial for mental health. It’s found to trigger a positive response to such exposure, which is a treatment within disorders such as SAD.
Yet, once natural exposure to blue light is reduced, where its artificial counterpart through our devices increases, disruptions to our circadian rhythm are expected, which automates behavioural and emotional responses. Negative, disrupted, and dysfunctional responses are connected to excessive blue light exposure, found to increase symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood disorders and sleep disorders. All are found to impact the quality of life and wellbeing, which can stand as a catalyst for ongoing exposure, churning the cycle of mental health deterioration.
It’s also found that nightly blue light exposure can restart the brain and its activity, rather than suppress its activation, ready for sleep. Poor sleep, insomnia and sleep disorders are heavily associated with mental health issues, due to the disruption that it makes through wellbeing, routine, and a balanced lifestyle.
Blue light and our mental health therefore have a multifaceted relationship, due to dual effects. Natural responses are beneficial, yet artificial forms, unsuitable for nightly exposure can adapt behaviours, outlooks, internal messaging, and brain structure, targeting the emotionally enforced part of the brain.
How to protect yourself from blue light
It may feel challenging to reduce exposure to blue light, as we’ve become accustomed to our technological devices. However, it is very important that protection is aimed, to prevent long-term damage from blue light, increasing risks of eye disease, sleep disorders and mental health conditions.
Through everyday life, some small yet impactful steps can therefore be completed to reduce blue light exposure and to protect oneself in the process of consumption.
1. Reduce nightly screen time
Screen time is the greatest exposure to blue light, which has become a nightly norm for our society. However, while it may feel routine to scroll across devices in the evening, to relax and to engage, such actions are in fact activating the brain, disrupting our circadian rhythm, and suppressing natural chemical production. All can contribute to poor mental health by consistently lowering mood, impacting our rest periods, and overexerting the brain.
Aiming to avoid screen time, 2-3 hours before bed will be recommended, to allow the brain to relax and prepare for rest.
2. Aim for natural light exposure
Aiming for natural light exposure, as much as possible in the day, will benefit sleep quality, help to uplift mood, help to treat mental health issues, and will also maintain our organic rhythm.
3. Wear blue light glasses
Blue light glasses are available to purchase, which ultimately suppress the strength and wavelength of blue light. Wearing a quality pair of glasses while watching the TV or making use of mobile devices will reduce the strength and effects of blue light, helping to regulate organic functionality. Here you can have the best of both worlds if exposure to technology is necessary.
4. Activate blue light setting on phones
Our devices are tuned to adapt lighting settings. You can change yours by activating blue light settings or make use of filter apps, to dim down to the strength of blue light. This is an easy step to turn into a routine, which can help to benefit all-around exposure to blue light, by decreasing its nightly presence.
5. Change personal means of lighting
Artificial lighting is heavily associated with blue light, which may be found within your personal space. This is especially the case for LED lights. By changing your means of lighting and aiming for warmer bulbs that reflect red-like tones, maintaining your organic rhythm is likely, helping to regulate balance and stability.
Blue light is now a big part of our everyday lives. Yet consistent and unprotected exposure can result in many health concerns, disruptions, and lower quality of life. If you are struggling with your mental health and have a substance abuse problem, at Asana Lodge, we can support you through dual diagnosis treatments and therapies. While blue light may be a beneficial treatment, its presence in the night is disruptive and damaging, making it an ineffective option through recovery.
Work through your symptoms while also preventing the extent of blue light exposure on your mental health.
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