Why I Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses (at Night)

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Why I wear blue light blocking Orange Glasses at Night
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Why I Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses (at Night)

When I first started wearing blue light blocking glasses at night a few years ago (which look like orange sunglasses), they were much less common. Someone once asked me if I wore them because I have some kind of eye disease! Of course the answer was “no”, but since then, they’ve gotten much more popular…

At a restaurant recently, a waiter asked me if my orange glasses were actually blue blocking glasses and said he had some too!

What are Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

Why I Wear Orange Sunglasses at Night and You Should too

In short, they are glasses designed to block most blue light that a person encounters after it is dark outside. Think of them as reverse sunglasses. You wear them inside instead of outside and to block artificial light, but not the sun.

If you look at the research, it turns out that wearing silly glasses can serve a serious purpose!

The Problem with Blue Light (After Dark)

Artificial light is still a relatively new invention to modern man, and exposure to this type of lighting may be drastically affecting our biology. For most of history, people rose and slept with the sun. Their circadian rhythm was effortlessly controlled by the light of the sun and moon.

Now, we experience light at all times of day and night. Electronics and artificial lighting emit blue light, which only occurs in nature during the brightest part of the day. So when we encounter light that would only occur in nature during the bright afternoon hours at 11:00 PM, our bodies get confused!

From Harvard:

While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light. It shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).

Reduced Melatonin

Research suggests that blue light after sunset can disrupt circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin production.

Think about it, until the invention of electric light bulbs, people relied on the sun for the majority of their light. After dark, they only used natural sources of light such as candles, campfires, and lanterns (all orange lights). With the dawn of modern electricity, we suddenly had the ability to stay up with lights on for many hours after sunset.

With computers, TVs, tablets, and phones, this use has extended even more, and these new technologies are especially high in blue light. We’re only starting to understand the affects, but we know that artificial light at night impacts cortisol patterns, melatonin, and circadian rhythm.

This is the reason that recent research found that just one week of camping away from artificial light could fix many sleep problems!

I truly believe that the next wave of medicine will involve addressing light, the gut, and sleep more comprehensively. Until then, we have to find ways to address these things ourselves. Blue light and artificial light at night have been linked to:

Disrupted Sleep

Electricity and artificial lighting have drastically changed the world. Of course, they have many benefits, but they also give us the ability to mess with our circadian rhythm and our sleep cycles.

Sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus makes this statement in his book The Power of When:

The most disruptive event in the history of biotime occurred on December 31, 1879 with the invention of the electric light bulb.

Researchers have known for years that shift workers and those who are regularly up late at night are at a higher risk for various cancers. More recent research shows that even recreational exposure to blue light for a few hours at night can also have a negative effect.

Some researchers even promote the theory that the disruption of natural circadian rhythm from (blue) light after dark is a big contributing factor to the rise in obesity and chronic disease. (1) There is even evidence linking this disruption of the sleep cycle to higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. (2)

From Harvard Medical School:

Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s not exactly clear why nighttime light exposure seems to be so bad for us. But we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some experimental evidence (it’s very preliminary) that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer. (3)

Shift workers and those up after 11:00 PM seem to be especially at risk for the negative effects of blue light. Yet, research is showing that any of us who are up after dark looking at sources of blue light (TV, computer, etc.) are at risk.

When Blue Light is Beneficial

It is important to note that blue light in itself is actually a very good thing. Exposure to blue light (preferably outdoors) is important during the day to maintain proper circadian rhythm. It is only blue light at night that causes the problems. At night, blue light signals the body that it is still daytime (sunlight has a lot of blue light).

In fact, avoiding blue light during the day has been linked to depression and sleep troubles! It is important to get blue light, but only during the day when it benefits the body. I have a 10,000 lux light box (with blue light spectrum) that I use in the morning and on rainy days to help my cortisol rhythm for this reason.

The Benefits of Blocking Blue Light (at Night)

Turns out, there is a simple way to reduce most of the blue light we see at night: blue light blocking glasses.

This simple change could have big benefits, including:

Eye Protection

Dr. Mercola explains that “the benefits of blue-blocking glasses are immense and varied. In my view the primary benefit is to prevent damage to the DHA essential fat in your retinal pigmented epithelium. This is responsible for converting sunlight into vital DC electric current your body needs.”

Melatonin Production

Researchers at the University of Toronto compared the melatonin levels of two groups:

  1. People exposed to bright indoor light who were wearing blue-light–blocking goggles
  2. People exposed to regular dim light without wearing goggles.

Melatonin levels were about the same in the two groups. This strengthens the hypothesis that blue light is a potent suppressor of melatonin. It also suggests that shift workers and night owls could perhaps protect themselves if they wore eyewear that blocks blue light.

Cortisol Patterns

I notice a big difference in my sleep and my cortisol patters when I regularly wear blue light blocking glasses at night. From testing, I’ve found that my salivary cortisol pattern is drastically improved when I avoid blue light after dark.

Better Sleep

A study of 20 adults who wore either blue-light blocking or ultraviolet-light blocking glasses for 3 hours before sleep found that both sleep quality and mood improved among those in the group who wore blue-light blocking glasses, compared to the ultraviolet-light blocking group.

Help for Shift Workers

Shift workers are at especially high risk for circadian rhythm disruptions, because of their non-traditional schedules. At study from Quebec’s Universite Laval, studied nightshift workers who used blue-light blocking glasses at or near the end of their overnight shifts for 4 weeks. At the end of the study period, their overall sleep amounts increased, as did their sleep efficiency.

Mitochondria Support

There is some evidence that blue light will increase the distance of the proteins in the respiratory electron transport chain in the mitochondria. This makes them much less efficient in producing mitochondria.

How to Find Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Of all the health related changes I’ve made, this is one of the easiest and most effective! I just put on my blue light blocking glasses when the sun goes down and take them off when I go to bed.

Thankfully, there are now some great (and even trendy) blue light blocking glasses. When I first started wearing them, I could only find unattractive, hunting-type glasses (see small photo near the top of post). After trying many glasses, our family now uses these:

Other Ways to Limit & Avoid Blue Light at Night

Ever tried blue light blocking glasses? Would you wear orange sunglasses at night? Think it’s weird? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


167 responses to “Why I Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses (at Night)”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    The amazon budget choice is no longer available, any other recommendations?

  2. Joy Williams Avatar
    Joy Williams

    I really appreciate this blog. You have explanied blue light problem very well. I still remember those days, when I was working late nigh and frusted with headache, eye dryness and many more. I was just about to quite my job. but I got to know about blue light blocking glasses from my friend and I bought a pair. Now I am working at nigh shift only but with almost no eye problem. After reading your blog I feel that, thank you god. I am using blue light blocking glasses now.

  3. Kathy Avatar

    We heard that red light contributes to cataracts, because the “heat” of it causes the eye to go into defense mode and cloud the lens to protect it. When salt lamps and f.lux are used at night wouldn’t this contribute to this problem?

  4. Karas Avatar

    What do you think about the newer blue light blocking glasses that are not orange tinted? Do they work as well? They certainly are nicer looking!

  5. Limmney Avatar

    and the difference between these ORANGE LENS’s and the NIGHT VISION YELLOW LENS’s is?>

  6. Danielle Hutchinson Avatar
    Danielle Hutchinson

    Hi Katie,
    I have found I have been clicking on your website for a wee while now (maybe a little over a year?) here and there when I’m researching my next wellness problem, lol..and each time I end up here I find I’m impressed with your research skills, writing form and how generous you are with the information you provide, as well as the wealth of topics you cover! I likey.. Lol 🙂

    My question that I really hope you see, is that both links you provided re: the glasses (both of the adult one’s,) unfortunately do not take me to any particular brand on Amazon actually. And I honestly don’t have the time nor the health to be researching which one’s to purchase (I have terrible ill health ATM, namely CFS/ME. Which also means I have very little money to spend too as I am unemployed due to the severity of the illness,) however I REALLY need to purchase some of these glasses soon as another problem I have is a long term sleep disorder, which, OFC, I am well aware doe nothing to help the symptoms of CFS/ME! And although I now turn my laptop off at 8 pm every evening (I don’t use a TV,) and try not to use it too much through the day, it definitely increases the ‘wired,’ symptom that many with CFS/ME have (along with the myriad of other symptoms!)
    Is there anyway you could reply to this and/or send me a link to the blu-blocker glasses you recommend in this article, please?
    Thank you in advance!

      1. Danielle Hutchinson Avatar
        Danielle Hutchinson

        Hey there. Thanks so much for getting back to me (you must be SUCH a busy bee!)
        The link you posted takes me to a page on Amazon with a very small non-specific list of glasses. (The top two are by THL?? Could this be them??)
        When you next have a moment could you specify the actual make of glasses you have please? (I think the link doesn’t work as I’m in the UK and you’re in the States.)
        TY. 🙂

          1. Danielle Hutchinson Avatar
            Danielle Hutchinson

            Okie dokie. NP. 🙂 TY! 🙂

  7. Desiree Banfield Avatar
    Desiree Banfield

    I would definitely werevcolored glasses at night! But , I need “ magnifying readers” ! Do they make them?

  8. Kelly Avatar

    Do you know anything about Zenni Optical? They have blue blocking lenses that are clear but still block blue light. They’re comparable in price than the plain yellow-looking ones on Amazon. It just doesn’t say what percentage of blue light they block, so I’m not sure if they work the same way.

  9. Britta Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you so much for putting this info out there for all of us! As part of my healing process I am in the market for a pair of blue light blocking glasses. I’ve noticed that there are now version for sale that do not have the orange lenses. Would these be just as effective or not? Thank you in advance for your time! It is greatly appreciated.

  10. Chantel Avatar

    Thanks, Katie! I love this information. A couple months ago, in your email blasts, you had a code for a reduced price on these glasses. I recently tried to order these glasses with the coupon code and it was no longer active. Will you be able to negotiate that promotion again soon?

  11. Elle Avatar

    Katie – my husband started wearing these glasses at night and while I thought it was a fad turns out there’s some real science behind it! To be honest he looks like a dork but I still love him 🙂 I ended up getting a filter for my computer monitor and while I don’t notice any improvement with my sleep my eyes aren’t as fatigued. One thing I DID try was not using my phone at night, or while brushing my teeth in the bathroom. At least it helps my sanity, creating a brief moment of silence after the kids are in bed.

  12. Amanda Avatar

    Hi! Thanks for your blog! I check it out quite frequently and find it to be really helpful. I didn’t see my question in the comments when looking through but I apologize if someone already asked. I wear prescription glasses and do not wear contacts ever. I have sleep trouble so I really want to use the orange glasses at night for computer use but if I do I can’t see as well and strain my eyes. I recently saw that zenni optical has what they call Beyond UV Blockers and I was wondering your thoughts on them. Do you think they work well to block blue light? They’re not like the orange safety glasses completely covering my entire eye area and they are not orange color but if they work I want to buy them since I can’t wear the regular orange ones you have. What do you recommend for people with prescription glasses?

    THANK YOU so much!

  13. Helen Avatar

    Really enjoyed your blog. I’m visiting my mother and was working wearing my own blue light blocker glasses that I’ve had for 3 years. She asked me if they were prescription. I then began to explain to her and decided to “Google” to show her what I was talking about and your blog was the first to pop up. I read her your entire blog. She wants to get some now. Appreciate all of your knowledge and passion for health. Thank you!

  14. zizou Avatar

    Hello, nice article. I have a question tho : what’s the difference between the premuim version and the price friendly one ? since they all have the same description on Amazone . Thank you for helping me

  15. Alex Avatar

    Hi Katie!
    I just bought red light bulbs from my local Canadian tire store. Will these work if I put in my lamps for after nightfall? Or do they need to be a special type of bulb? Thanks!

  16. Laura Avatar

    My daughter (4 years old) doesn’t get up in the night to use the washroom if she doesn’t have a light on in her room. She also shares the room with her 6 month sister. I have a Himalayan Salt light in their room with a pink lightbulb in it in the hopes this won’t be as bad for them. It glows red. Do you think this is okay until they are a little older? Thank you so much!

  17. Wendy Avatar

    Do you still need the glasses if you use the free flux program on your computer? It automatically adjusts the blue light for you and you can come out of it when you work on special colour projects.

  18. Rebecca Paige Avatar
    Rebecca Paige

    There is a setting in Windows – Settings – System – Display – Night Light – Night Light Settings. It turns off the blue light and even lets you adjust how much orange light, and lets you control when it is turned on and off. Just in case you didn’t know the feature was there.

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