How Blue Light Glasses Improve Sleep, Energy + Health
Did you know that blue light from phones, TVs, computers, LED lights, and other technological devices can largely impact your sleep, circadian rhythm, energy, and overall health? Don’t worry–there’s an easy solution! We’ve rounded up the best, stylish blue light glasses to keep you protected, plus there are special discount codes just for you (AND a giveaway!).
Earlier this year I took Ari Whitten’s Energy Blueprint course, which is a FASCINATING resource about how to get better sleep, more energy and improved overall health. (Interested? Sign up for his free masterclass here, or take this quiz to discover your energy score.)
One thing I learned in his course is about the power of our circadian rhythm, our body’s sleep-wake cycle or our internal clock. The circadian rhythm controls most things in our body, since it tells our bodies when to sleep, rise, and eat, thus regulating many physiological processes.
Turns out, our internal body clocks are affected by environmental cues, like light and temperature.
Ari talks a lot in the course about how light affects us–namely sunlight, artificial light like blue light, and red light therapy–and all the good and the bad that come from this exposure.
I had a MAJOR AHA MOMENT when he started talking about how light of all kinds affects our sleep patterns. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep, and more often I struggle waking up in the morning because I still feel so tired. I also had to admit to myself how much sitting in front of a screen for most of my waking hours could really be affecting my energy levels and overall health.
While I was going through Ari’s course, I felt like I was having these epiphany’s that explained so much of my energy/fatigue troubles, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure what he suggested would really work. Could it be as simple as light?
Eager to test his theories, I started implementing some of his strategies and I kid you not, within a week, I was sleeping better than ever before, FINALLY waking up feeling rested and I had more energy throughout the day, too. I put together my sleep plan here for you if you’re interested:
Alright, so let’s talk about blue light…while some upcoming posts will cover the crazy cool benefits red light therapy (stay tuned!), today I want to break down the impacts of artificial light (blue light) on your health and what you can do about it!
What is Blue Light?
If you think about it, our ancestors were never exposed to artificial light; the lightbulb wasn’t even invented until 1879, and it’s only in the last couple of decades that we’ve started to surround ourselves with technology, screens, and artificial lights pretty much 24/7.
We’re inundated every day with artificial light sources from LEDs, compact fluorescents (CFLs), and screens galore like our computers, smartphones, and tablets. All of these things emit blue light.
Our bodies aren’t used to this type of blue light exposure, and it’s been shown in thousands of studies that we are incredibly sensitive to this spectrum of light. (here are just a few: source; source; source; source)
How does blue light affect us?
While our bodies need some blue light to regulate our wake and sleep cycles, prolonged exposure to blue light emitted from electronic devices has some potentially serious consequences.
Overexposure to artificial light at the wrong time of day, a.k.a. ‘junk light’, impacts two main areas: sleep disruption and eye health.
Junk light affects your ability to get quality sleep by impacting the photoreceptor cells in your eyes, and suppressing the natural production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Your body doesn’t signal melatonin if your melanopsin-infused sensors are seeing daytime colors, which is what happens when you’re scrolling your iPhone in bed, watching TV at night, or working on your computer.
This throws off our circadian rhythm, disrupting our ability to sleep deeply and restfully. We all know that deep, restful sleep is essential for allowing your mind and body to heal, recuperate, and recover from the stress and exhaustion of the day. In fact, thousands of studies show that poor sleep leads to a host of other physical and emotional issues. (examples here)
Junk light also emits a unique glare that impacts your retina, causing eye strain (eventually it can even cause permanent damage to your vision), headaches, and physical and mental fatigue.
The good news: there’s a simple solution to protect us from eye strain, headaches, and disturbance to our circadian rhythm, so we can get the restful sleep that we need.
Wearing blue light glasses–both during the day AND in the evenings when it gets dark–can decrease how much blue light your eyes are exposed to on a daily basis, and therefore help mitigate the negative effects of blue light on your health. (Here are a couple studies on the science of how they work: source; source)
When I started wearing blue light glasses in the evening–coupled with other tweaks to my daily routine–I noticed a HUGE change in my energy and sleep in just a few days! To find out what I did, download our free plan to improve your sleep and get more energy.
Who Should Wear Blue Light Glasses?
There are a handful of companies now making blue light glasses, which block a certain percentage of the most harmful spectrum of blue lights from entering your eye. We tried five of the most popular brands and share the results below!
But first, how do you know if you need blue blight glasses?
While I believe EVERYONE can benefit from blue light glasses given we all have phones, LED lights in our homes, computers, TVs, get exposed to street lighting, etc., you’ll especially benefit from blue light blocking glasses if you:
- Spend a lot of time looking at screens every day
- Are struggling with symptoms of digital eye strain
- Have trouble falling asleep at night
- Regularly work after the sun goes down, or are a shift worker (working outside of the traditional 9-5 work day and subsequently disrupt your natural circadian rhythms)
- Are concerned about keeping your body and eyes healthy
- New moms/parents (as you try to maintain a healthy sleep schedule while caring for your newborn, it’s important to not expose yourself to light during the night so you can get back to a restful sleep more easily)
- When you travel, especially in airports (reducing light exposure will help with avoiding jet lag so that you can still feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination)
- Want to up your style game with some cool glasses! (as someone who doesn’t usually wear glasses, this has been fun for me!)
The Best Blue Light Glasses of 2019
Blue light glasses come in all kinds of styles and frames, some of which look exactly like regular glasses or readers.
They often come in either a clear lens, yellow lens, or a red or orange lens. Put most simply, clear lenses are best for either daytime use, or for social settings (like work) where you don’t want to look like Elton John by wearing funky colored lenses. They still result in a significant decrease of blue light exposure, so they’re better than nothing, even at night.
Yellow lenses block even more light, so are great for those of us who have excessive amounts of screen time, are extra sensitive to blue light, or really for anyone to put on around sunset if you want to receive the most optimal amount of blue light blockage before bed and not disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Orange and red typically block the most amount of light, but can of course be hard to get used to visually, so would be best worn at night by those who don’t mind the color accent or who have major concerns about the health impacts (maybe you regularly stay up til midnight working on your laptop, and want to wear red lenses so you experience the most minimal impact on your health).
To help make things easy, we made this chart to compare different options from the brands we personally tested out. Keep reading to find out what glasses are going to be best for you, plus we’ve got special savings galore!
Blue Light Glasses: Pixel Eyewear (+Promo Code!)
Unlike most blue light glasses on the market, Pixel Eyewear’s lenses are virtually clear with no strong yellow tint. Whether you’re being a boss at work or relaxing on the couch watching your favorite show, keep your eyes and body protected without crimping your style.
Our opinion: Pixel offers some of the most ‘normal’ looking pair of glasses since they offer a practically clear lens, so you can wear them around without feeling completely ridiculous. Their modern selection of frames are built with the same material used by most high-end eyewear brands, so it’s easy to find a pair that suits your personal style. These were my personal favorite because they look just like my regular glasses–I wear them almost every day while I’m working at my computer.
Pixel offers free shipping and free returns, plus a 30-day risk-free free trial!
Blue Light Glasses: TrueDark (+Promo Code!)
TrueDark glasses, founded by the acclaimed creator of Bulletproof and the ultimate biohacker, Dave Asprey, have patented lenses that come in clear, yellow, and red. Their nighttime red lenses, the Twilights, block out all wavelengths of the junk light (blue and green) which disrupt your sleep, and are the only solution we found to filter out nearly 100% of blue light.
Our opinion: Given the Twilights filter out ALL blue light, these glasses truly offer the best protection on the market. However, the red lenses will make you feel like you’re living in The Shining, which can be hard to get used to–I personally only wear these when I’m in bed and want to read before I fall asleep. The Daywalkers aren’t as disruptive with the yellow lenses, and this was actually Sarah’s (R+R’s Business Manager) favorite pair since the frames she got fit over her existing glasses, making them a versatile option for both her glasses- or contacts-wearing days. Kate gave her dad a pair of TrueDark’s readers so he could read his iPad at night without affecting his sleep, and he claims to be able to tell a difference in his ability to fall and stay asleep when he wears them.
TrueDark offers free shipping to the USA and has a 90-day return policy!
Blue Light Glasses: Spektrum Glasses (+Promo Code!)
Spektrum offers a range of blue light glasses including nearly clear styles to yellow and orange styles, and even special night driving glasses that improve your vision by filtering bright lights, increasing contrast, and eliminating glare.
Our opinion: Sarah absolutely loved the Lumin Night Driving Glasses and said she’ll never drive at night again without them. They make such a HUGE difference to reduce glare and noticeably decrease eye strain. I (Kate) keep their yellow lenses on my coffee table so I can wear them when I watch TV at night after 8-9 pm.
Spektrum offers a full refund for up to 90 days (minus the initial shipping cost of $5 for USA orders), as well as a one year warranty.
The Best Blue Light Glasses: Ra Optics
Ra Optics offers two main product lines: their Ultimate Day clear lens and Ultimate Night orange lens. While they don’t have an enormous selection of frames or colors compared to other brands, the simple styles offer just enough variety to satisfy most needs.
Our opinion: I love that Ra Optics offers prescription lenses, which make these a great option for me when I’m watching TV since I’m near-sighted. If I ever feel like I’m getting a tension headache from glaring at my computer, I also like to slip these on.
Ra Optics offers free shipping to the USA and has a hassle-free 30-day return policy!
Blue Light Glasses: Ambr Eyewear (+Promo Code!)
Ambr Eyewear has super stylish frames designed in-house and built from top-quality materials. One thing we love about Ambr is their Virtual Mirror, which gives you an accurate idea of how the frames will look on your face (and even works on mobile, too!). It’s super easy and connects to your webcam, so within seconds you can see the different style and color options on your particular face. So very handy!
Our opinion: Once again, we love the clear and natural-looking lenses with Ambr. You can actually get these frames as either a real prescription, or as a stylish addition to your wardrobe, without looking like a cyborg.
Ambr Eyewear offers free worldwide shipping and free worldwide returns with a 30-day free refund policy!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.