If you’re scientific at all, you probably know that the light that the average person routinely observes is not white on its own. White light is formed when the complete collection of hues – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet – join together. These colors meet on the retina, where clear vision should then occur. We bring up the topic of light, specifically, the wavelengths of light, not to titillate your trivia knowledge, but because we have become far too accustomed to artificial lighting, and this could be damaging to all of us.
Where there is light, there is energy. But not all light emits the same measure of energy. Red light, or yellow light, due to perceived brightness, may seem more energetically charged and thus more taxing on the eyes. Not so. If you are familiar with blue light and its wavelengths, you may recognize this cool hue as some of the most energetic. As the range of high-energy output, blue light presents very real hazards; and yet, it is blue light that has gradually taken over as an energy-efficient choice.
Most of our exposure to blue light will be when we are outdoors under the UV rays of the sun. However, when we are outdoors during the day, most of us protect our eyes behind tinted lenses. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that the blue light in sunshine is actually beneficial. The wavelengths of blue in sunlight are necessary to support the circadian rhythm we should all listen to. Naturally, blue light wakes up the brain and helps us stay alert. And there is where the downfall happens.
We’ve Gone Against the Grain
Historically, humans have gone with the grain of nature. As we have evolved and become more sophisticated, we have developed a host of new technologies to make life easier. Lightbulbs (then LED lightbulbs). Television. Computers. Digital Devices. Smartphones. The list goes on. What do these inventions have in common? Blue light.
It isn’t only medical professionals who may be up late at night in front of a computer screen. Most of us now spent several hours a day with our eyes on a blue-light screen of some sort. Researchers are starting to realize that all this exposure could be linked to the widespread complaints of insomnia among people of all ages.
Bottom line: during the day, blue light is advantageous because it shuts down melatonin so we can stay awake and alert. After dark, blue light is detrimental because it shuts down melatonin, causing us to toss and turn.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of those who need you.