What is a Blue Light Filter?
Back in the 80s, we had these giant computer screens called CRT monitors. CRT stands for cathode-ray tubes and these things sucked up a ton of electricity and took up about half of your desk.
I remember seeing my friends sitting with their faces almost touching their monitors playing Doom for hours on end.
Back then, we didn’t really think that anything about blue light, let alone what a blue light filter was.
We just didn’t know.
But now, we have a mounting pile of evidence that the blue light coming out of our computer screens, phones, tablets, and televisions actually causes quite a bit of damage to our eyes, sleeping habits, and even our mental health.
We now know that blue light can:
- Speed up macular degeneration (age-related blindness)
- Lack of sleep and insomnia
- Reduced cognitive function
And if you’re like most of us, then you probably spend a good chunk of your day soaking up blue light straight into your eyeballs.
So let me lay out what exactly blue light is, how it impacts your eyes and your brain, and why you need a good blue light filter to protect yourself.
What is Blue Light?
Visible light is made up of different waves of particles. The waves can have different lengths, which we call wavelengths.
Some of the waves have longer wavelengths and some are shorter.
Imagine holding one end of a long jump rope. You wave your entire arm in long arcs back and forth creating long, slow-moving waves along the jump rope. Then, you move only your hand back and forth quickly, creating short but faster-moving waves.
The same thing happens with visible light. The longer the waves the “warmer” the color is.
For example, the color red has a wavelength of around 650 nanometers. The color blue has a wavelength of around 475 nanometers.
When you see a rainbow, what you’re looking at is the spectrum of light being broken apart by water molecules in the air. The water from the rain bends the light and breaks out all the colors into their wavelengths so that you can see them on their own.
But why is blue light bad and why would anyone need a blue light filter?
Why Is Blue Light Bad and Why Get a Blue Light Filter?
Like we discussed above, blue light has a shorter wavelength. This means it is more energetic because it has smaller, faster-moving wavelengths.
Well, because blue light is more energetic, we’ve learned that it can impact your eyes in pretty dramatic ways, which is why many people have invested in a blue light filter.
Here’s what we know about how our bodies respond to blue light.
Blue Light and Sleep
For as long as we know, humans have lived and evolved underneath a bright sky during the day and a dark sky at night.
This rhythm of day and night is so ingrained in us that it is woven into our DNA.
It’s why every single person has an internal clock that tells them when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
This is called your circadian rhythm. Now, not everyone’s clock is the same. For night owls, their rhythm is a little longer, which is why they stay up later. For early birds, their cycle is shorter, allowing them to get up sooner.
But on average, this circadian cycle lasts, conveniently, about 24 hours.
And every person has a set of genes in them that detects this rhythm. So when the sun starts to set, the proteins in these genes start to signal to your body that it’s time to go to bed.
This signal sets off a cascade of other functions that are designed to put you to sleep and rest your body.
However, there are some things that disrupt this process and throw these genes out of whack.
When this happens, it throws your sleeping schedule out of balance.
In fact, there is a name for these disruptions. They are called Zeitgeber signals and they include:
- External temperature change
- Food intake
- Body temperature
- Social interaction
- Light exposure
Most of these appeal to common sense. If you’re hanging out at a party with lots of friends (social interaction), your body is less likely to get tired. Same with activity and food intake, which will spike your blood sugar.
But notice that light exposure will also disrupt your sleep schedule. Remember, our bodies are built to detect the rhythm of the day and night.
If your eyes are getting bombarded by highly energetic light (blue light), your body thinks that it’s still day time.
So this will keep your brain working and active. It will also inhibit the production of melatonin, which is the main hormone that controls your circadian rhythm and sleep schedule.
Exposure to blue light can increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and it also decreases the amount of important deep REM sleep that you need.
So if you’re sleeping for at least 8 hours but you’re still waking up in the morning feeling exhausted, drowsy, and fatigued, you may want to get a blue light filter or think about reducing your screen time before you got to bed.
But that’s not the end of it. It turns out that blue light is also terrible for your eyeballs themselves.
How Blue Light Hurts Your Retinas
So we know that blue light is very energetic and it can disrupt your sleep. But it also can cause serious damage to your eyes.
First, research has shown that prolonged exposure to blue light can accelerate macular degeneration, which is age-related blindness.
Second, blue light also kills the cells in your retinas, which are the light-sensitive tissues in your eyes. It does this by inducing necrosis (cell death) and creating reactive oxygen species (oxidants) inside the tissues of the retina cells.
Is There a Good Blue Light Filter?
Okay, so blue light is bad for your eyes and it’s bad for your sleep. What can you do about it and how can you filter it?
Well, it turns out that there are a few different ways to protect your eyes and you actually have a few options for a blue light filter.
Reduce Screen Time
I mentioned this above, but one of the things you can start doing tonight is to reduce the amount of screen time you have right before bed.
Put away your phone, tablet, turn off your TV and set down your e-book (yes, they produce blue light).
You can read a paper book, meditate, go for a walk, or do pretty much anything besides look at a screen.
Give it a shot and see how it works. You’ll be surprised at the quality of sleep your body rewards you with.
Wear Blue Light Filter Glasses
Blue light blocker glasses are becoming more and more popular (and fashionable) these days now that we know how damaging blue light is to your eyes.
Click here to improve your eye health with Ambrosia Night Owl.
Other Great Options for Blue Light Protection
If you don’t want to wear yellow-tinted glasses or reduce your screen time, there are a few other options.
There is a ton of very good scientific evidence that certain nutrients and supplements protect and shield your eyes from blue light.
They are in effect, an internal blue light filter.
Here are the absolute best blue light blocking supplements we know about.
This is a natural marigold extract that delivers two crucial nutrients into your eyeballs: lutein and zeaxanthin isomers.
These two nutrients are ONLY found in the eye in the retinal cells and they are powerful antioxidants.
However, your body cannot make them. You have to ingest them through food. Fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, and yellow and orange vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin isomers.
But research has shown that supplementing with these two critical nutrients can help combat age-related macular degeneration.
Magnesium and Theanine
Two other eye-healthy nutrients that are work as a blue light filter are magnesium and theanine.
Almost all adults are dramatically deficient in both of these compounds.
Furthermore, both of these nutrients are crucial to your sleep cycle and research shows that getting enough of them can help you get good, restful sleep.
Your Blue Light Filter Supplement
This is precisely why our groundbreaking blue light filter product Night Owl contains clinical doses of proprietary forms of Lutemax2020, magnesium in the form of Magtein, and theanine in the form of Suntheanine.
Each of these ingredients offers exceptionally better bioavailability than other supplements on the market.
And they all work synergistically to protect your eyes from blue light and promote healthy, restful sleep.
Check out Night Owl here and learn more about how it works.