Blue Light Spectrum
What is artificial light and how does it affect us?
Modern technology is our Achilles heel. Our current lifestyle is surrounded by computers, TVs, iPhones, Ipads, tablets, LED and halogen lights etc all of these produce artificial light. Research shows an average human spends 6-7 hours using electronics and even longer in artificial light. Artificial light is still a relatively new invention and has only been around since 1924. Our paleo ancestors rose with sunlight and slept during sundown and the sun and moon controlled our circadian rhythm. In the light spectrum, artificial lights emit blue light which is known to be massive a circadian and endocrine disruptor. Blue light specifically occurs during the brightest part of the day. However, with artificial light, we are encounter blue light at all times of day and night. Blue light keeps us alert and stimulated. If we are experiencing blue light at night, it signals our brains that it is still daylight causing massive mismatches and confusion in our brains and altering the circadian rhythm.
Artificial light disrupts this regulation by altering the energy-producing machinery in our cells, the mitochondria. The circadian rhythm as we know is in charge of our sleep-wake cycle. However, it is also biologically tied to metabolism and growth. During the daytime, cells are more active and energy is being made to keep us alert and awake. After sunset and during sleep the body retires into autophagy and growth. Autophagy is when the body scavenges and gets rid of cells that have gone wild so to speak. Those are the cells that attack the body’s own immune system or are responsible for inflammation. Furthermore, chemicals are released in the body during this time to promote healing and repair. These functions are dependant on light and darkness. 45-48% of the brain is wired to light so when we spend countless hours in artificial light and especially when our brain is being stimulated after sunset to artificial lights, it un-yokes the normal circadian signals from hormone response in the brain and creates a mismatch in our chemical clocks. This mismatch has now been linked to causing many conditions and ailments.
Besides sleeping difficulties, research now shows artificial light also makes us insulin resistant and its effects have been compared to eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates. It affects hormone productions, destroys vitamin D levels, and alters the microbiome in our gut affecting vitamin production. As mentioned before, it affects the way cells communicate challenging the immune system, creating inflammation and premature aging and likely plays a role in cancer development.
On the contrary, blue light during the daytime is important. More importantly, naturally occurring blue light from the sun. It maintains the circadian rhythm so go out and get some sun.
Ways to Reduce Blue Light at Night:
- Reduce or avoid electronics after dark
- Apple devices contain a night shift feature which will turn off blue light settings
- An app like f.lux on computers and tablets will reduce blue light on devices after dark
- Use orange bulbs after dark or use of salt lamps
- Get some sunlight during the daytime
- Blue light blocking glasses during the nighttime