Mind & Body

How Blue-Blocking Glasses Can Save Your Sleep

Even after the sun goes down, the modern world has plenty of illumination that can keep you awake and entertained through the night. That can be convenient, but it's also harmful since exposing yourself to glowing screens at night can throw off your sleep schedule and make it harder to get a good dose of shut-eye. Luckily, you can fight back — all it takes is a particular pair of shades.

The Receptors You Can't See

You're probably familiar with rods and cones, the two types of photoreceptor cells in your retina that help you visually perceive the world around you. You may not be as familiar with the third type of photoreceptor in your eyes, and there's a good reason for that. Melanopsin retinal ganglion cells don't actually play a role in your ability to see — instead, they keep tabs on how much light there is around you and relay those signals to the master clock in your brain.

That clock, in turn, makes adjustments to your circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle on which many of your body's processes run. It dictates when you get hungry, when you metabolize your food, when you go to the bathroom, when you're most productive, even when you heal. It also determines when you wake up and go to sleep, specifically by releasing cortisol, an alertness hormone, and melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy.

When those photoreceptors sense blue light from the sky, they let your internal clock know that it's daytime and you need plenty of cortisol to stay alert. As the sun sets and the evening light takes on an amber glow, those cells tell your brain that it's time to start ramping up melatonin release to prepare for bedtime. But here's the thing: Blue light from your smartphone, computer screen, and television can make your photoreceptors send the wrong signals. If they sense blue light when your brain should be winding down for the night, that can interfere with melatonin secretion and keep you wired past your bedtime.

Through Amber-Colored Glasses

Luckily, there's a way to keep your body clock running on time: glasses with blue-blocker lenses. These lenses filter out shorter, bluer wavelengths of light to keep them from interfering with your sleep schedule. Studies have found that when people wear these types of lenses starting around three hours before bedtime, they experience better sleep quality and a better mood.

If you want to try some for yourself, we recommend Blokz blue blocker lenses from Zenni. While traditional blue-blocker lenses are amber or yellow in color, Blokz are made with a blue-blocking polymer that's virtually clear, yet still prevents blue light and UV rays from passing through the lenses. You can add them to any pair of Zenni glasses — just click here to get started.

Written by Ashley Hamer April 12, 2019

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