Uncategorized

Sleep Well Wednesdays: Do blue light blocking glasses actually work?

A woman holding a pair of glasses, looking stylish and sophisticated.
I'm Olivia!

IF you want raw, real and unfiltered Olivia, my blog is where you'll find it.

Here, I'll share the highlights of my sleep expert life, as well as the highlights - and lowlights - of my personal life too.

hey there

TOp categories

Do blue light blocking glasses actually work? Image: Stock

Body+Soul’s resident sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo shares the answer to the quesiton she is asked almost daily, “do blue light blocking glasses actually work?”

Sleep: it’s free. And we all want more of it, so why is it so hard to get? Specifically – that consistent, restorative, uninterrupted, eight-hours-a-night kinda sleep. Which is why we’ve enlisted Sydney-based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to solve our myriad of sleep concerns with our Sleep Well Wednesdays series. Check back every fortnight and you’ll be off to the land of nod before you know it.

I’ve harped on about blue light glasses more times than I can count. In this article series, on social media and in every conversation on the topic of optimising sleep. Why? Nothing will make a greater difference in helping you sleep better and fall asleep faster, wake less during the night, sleep deeper, and wake more refreshed than blocking out blue light before sleep.

And, before you say, “but I’m not on a screen in the hours before bed” (though, if you were about to say that, congratulations! ), blue light comes from all artificial lights. Ceiling lights, reading lights, and ambient street lighting are all powerful sources of sleep-inducing blue light. This article will arm you with everything you need to know about blue light glasses.

Why do blue light blocking glasses work? 

Light is our primary zeitgeber – a factor that regulates our circadian rhythm, melatonin levels, and thus our sleep quality. Melatonin is produced in the dark, allowing us to easily fall and stay asleep. Melatonin is suppressed in light (or delayed; more on that later), making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Other factors are certainly involved when it comes to sleep including our diet, exercise, temperature, and bedtime routine, but nothing matters more than blue light. 

Light regulates our circadian rhythm, melatonin levels, and sleep quality. Image: iStock

What does the evidence say? 

There are numerous studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of blue light glasses, which is why I’m such a staunch supporter. A 2021 meta analytic review, concluded that, “Out of the 24 clinical studies focusing on sleep, there was substantial evidence for blue-blocking glasses being a successful intervention for reducing sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) in individuals with sleep disorders, jet lag, or variable shift work schedules.”

A 2016 study found that wearing 100 per cent blue light blocking glasses from 9 p.m. each evening for two weeks helped people fall asleep one hour and 18 minutes earlier than usual. Another clinical trial from 2016 found that wearing 100 per cent blue light blocking glasses for 2 hours before bed reduced nighttime wakings by 66 per cent.

Light sleepers, rejoice: this could be the solution to your nighttime waking. You can expect more restful, rejuvenating sleep because blocking out blue light increases melatonin production, which helps you sleep deeper.

100 per cent blue light blocking glasses can help you fall asleep one hour and 18 minutes earlier than usual. Image: unsplash

“I have blue light filters in my prescription lenses but I still have sleep problems. Why?”

Blue light filters in prescription lenses are excellent for use during the day. Given that they continue to allow 50-60 per cent of blue light to enter the eye (which is beneficial during the day), they will be only half as effective as you require in the evening. Instead of 40-50 per cent blue light blocking, you need 100 per cent blue light blocking glasses, which typically have an orange or red lens.

“What if I don’t look at screens before bed, do I still need them?”

Avoiding screens before bed is a fantastic, and challenging, feat – so first up, well done! Screens are one of the most potent sources of blue light, so reducing your use of laptops, phones, kindles, even if the brightness is low, in the two hours before bed is helpful, without a doubt. However, as artificial light also contains blue light, unless you are in complete darkness for two hours before bed, you still need them. 

Blue light will help you sleep even if you avoid screens before bed. Image: iStock

“What if I use night mode on my screen – do I still need them?”

Night mode is a fantastic concept but unfortunately, it’s more effective for marketing than it is for your sleep. A 2011academic study found using night mode made as little as four per cent difference in melatonin levels and therefore, a minimal per cent impact to sleep quality by using it.

Specifically, the researchers found that without night mode, melatonin was suppressed by 23 per cent. With night mode on, melatonin was suppressed by 19 per cent. In all fairness, with night mode on maximum strength, it suppressed melatonin by 12 per cent, yet the researchers noted, “having the night shift at any mode is not significantly different than not using it”

Are all 100 per cent blue light blocking glasses the same?

Definitely not. And further, even though they may be marketed at 100 per cent blue light blocking, it’s possible they fall short of this. When in doubt, reach out to a professional such as myself and ask, you’ll save yourself many sleepless nights by doing so.

In absence of this, my recommended glasses are in my hand picked, expert curated sleep kit, so either way, your sleep is saved. Remember, of all things that will help you sleep better, this is number one! With blue light glasses, your best night’s sleep is just around the corner. 

Originally featured on Body and Soul

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

smart, savvy and more than just a sleep expert.

Hi, I'm Olivia.

If you want raw, real and unfiltered Olivia, my blog is where you'll find it.
As an author and avid writer, I find immense pleasure in sharing the ins and outs - without holding back - of my journey through life.
Professionally, I'm a sleep expert - but i'm guessing you already know that.
Personally, I'm a free-flowing, idealistic introvert who loves to travel, dance and enjoy an Aperol Spritz.

Thank you for reading my blog - if you want to know more about me, click below.

Learn more ABOUT ME

LET'S CONNECT

Join my

39,117

VIPs! We'd love to have you.

get expert advice, industry only knowledge and more