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Amber lenses block blue light from cell phones to improve sleep.

Amber lenses block blue light from cell phones to improve sleep.

Last Reviewed : 12/22/2020
Amber lenses block blue light from cell phones to improve sleep.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the source of illumination for most electronic devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones. Although the light emitted by these devices appears white, it contains emissions in the wavelength range of 400-490nm which corresponds to the blue light. Blue light is a part of the visual spectrum. It is present in sunlight and plays an important role in the diurnal rhythm of the body.

In the human eye, there are certain receptors for detecting light called photoreceptors which include the rods and cone. Research has shown the presence of receptors in the eye that do not help in the formation of an image on the retinabut performs other functions relating tosleep and circadian rhythm. These receptors are very sensitive to blue light. Through these receptors, blue light activates brain functioning and suppresses sleep.

The human body has an internal clock that shuts down all your thinking systems and makes you feel tired and sleepy at the end of the day. This biological clock is called the pineal gland, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle and many important rhythms in the body. This system of body regulation depends heavily on sensory information, especially the presence or absence of light. During the day, when you are exposed to sunlight, it keeps you alert, active, and in a good mood. While at night, as the sensory input of light is lessened, it increases a hormone called melatonin which makes you feel tired and sleepy. If you are exposed to blue light coming from your mobile devices or laptops, it will suppress the action of the pineal gland, decrease melatonin output and trick your brain into believing it's daytime. The blue lightkeeps your brain active and delays your sleep onset and eventually disrupts your sleep cycle.

Suppression of melatonin and consequent lack of sleep is associated with many medical conditions like depression, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

With growing awareness about the adverse effects of blue light on health, newer methods are being studied and implemented to block blue wavelength light from entering the eyes, especially in the hours before going to sleep. Using amber-tinted glasses is the simplest and most efficient method to block blue light. Amber lenses have also been studiedfor their effect on sleep. These lenses have shown a decrease in the suppressionof melatonin when your eyes are exposedto bright light. These are equally effective in reducing blue light exposure from devices like cell phones used before bedtime. The amount of melatonin produced using amber lenses in bright light is equal to the amount normally produced in dim light. The amber lenses direct no signals to the brain to stay awake, maintains the circadian rhythm, and helps achieve a natural sleep cycle.

Amber-tinted lenses prevent blue light from entering the eye, effectively preventing unnecessary signals for the brain to stay active during the night. In an experimental study, people using these lenses have reported improved quality and duration of sleep. There is evidence suggesting improvement of several psychiatric conditions like depression, mania, and bipolar disorder with the use of blue-light blocking lenses. These are also useful in preventing blue light associated damage to the eyes. In another study, delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) was studied relating to the use of amber-tinted glasses and people showed improved sleep performance. Amber lenses also help prevent outcomes of poor sleep like hypertension and cardiovascular risk.

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