Blue-light blocking glasses, also known as amber glasses, primarily block blue light in the spectrum. This is the light that is emitted from screens and devices.
It seemed like every time I would ask someone about their effectiveness, it was not clear.
So I took a look at the research and found that there was research. For example, studies exists on using blue light glasses as a sleep intervention for insomnia, delayed sleep-phase disorder, shift work, jet lag, and mood disorders.
To explain, blue-blocking glasses improve sleep by reducing activation of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). Explicitly, these are the cells most sensitive to blue light. They are a major input for circadian regulation. Notably, their mechanism for mood regulation is unclear (Hester, 2021). You may recall the other end of the “spectrum”. Early morning light stimulates optic flow and initiates circadian rhythms. So it is important to know that wearing these amber glasses in the morning is not a good idea.
Without a doubt, having a morning and evening routine is valuable. Exactly as I learned in my studies of Ayurveda.
In reality, I have come to appreciate from my study of Ayurveda that rhythmicity = resiliency. Having a structured daily routine helps regulate circadian rhythms. I believe this process is a highly unrecognized basis of vitality.
Hester et al did a systematic review of the data. They identified 29 experimental publications involving evening wear of blue-blocking glasses for sleep or mood disorders.
“These consisted of 16 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in journals with a total of 453 patients. Out of the 24 publications focusing on sleep, there was substantial evidence for blue-blocking glasses being a successful intervention for reducing sleep onset latency in patients with sleep disorders, jet lag, or variable shift work schedules.”
To sum up, the researchers concluded that given the well-established biological mechanism and clinical research showing that blue-blocking glasses are effective for supporting sleep, they are a viable intervention to recommend to patients with insomnia or a delayed sleep phase.
Surprisingly, there was actually some data to consider. I really appreciate this as overall many health trends remain popular without clear evidence.
Do you have a preferred brand?
Have you tried them?
What do you think?
Hester L, Dang D, Barker CJ, Heath M, Mesiya S, Tienabeso T, Watson K. Evening wear of blue-blocking glasses for sleep and mood disorders: a systematic review. Chronobiol Int. 2021 Oct;38(10):1375-1383. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2021.1930029. Epub 2021 May 24. PMID: 34030534. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07420528.2021.1930029
Faltraco F, Palm D, Uzoni A, Borchert L, Simon F, Tucha O, Thome J. Dopamine adjusts the circadian gene expression of Per2 and Per3 in human dermal fibroblasts from ADHD patients. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2021 Jul;128(7):1135-1145. doi: 10.1007/s00702-021-02374-4. Epub 2021 Jul 18. PMID: 34275001; PMCID: PMC8295132.
Dopamine adjusts the circadian gene expression of Per2 and Per3 in human dermal fibroblasts from ADHD patients https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34275001/
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