After you read this you’ll want to throw away your CFLs and double check the “color” of your lighting — and I hope you do…for your health’s sake.
Check out “Is Blue Light the New Smoking?” but in brief there are two things you want to be aware of.
2 Hazards of Blue Light
1. Circadian rhythm disorders Blue light from the ‘daylight’ bulbs at the wrong time of day or in excess of just a few hours a day decrease sleep and wreak havoc on us.
2. Retina damage Research is showing that retina damage is occurring to animals exposed to “blue” or “cool white” light at “domestic levels” after only 9 days.
Circadian Rhythms Affected by Blue Light
Our body’s 24 hour cycle is necessary for proper health. Researchers are showing that an out-of-phase circadian rhythm is a health hazard.
Light, it’s color and timing is instrumental for a healthy body; the “wrong” light or at the “wrong” time can see us lying awake at 3 am wondering why.
Researchers have discovered that blue wavelength light has a way of signaling the pineal gland to stop producing Melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Not only have researchers “… linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems,” some recent studies have actually shown decreased human growth due to overexposure to the ‘wrong’ color light at the ‘wrong’ time of day. Remember that the colors around us are also light–reflected bands of light that affect us as well. Is blue a not-so-good idea for a bedroom? Stay posted.
Harvard Medical School’s “The Dark Side of Blue Light” recommends “Light at night is bad for your health, and exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs may be especially so.”
“Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion….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 and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).”
Retina Damage Findings
Research also shows blue and “cool white” lighting exposure has and can lead to retina damage, as studied by Shang, Y. et. al.
“We created an exposure environment where rats could run freely in a cage with the light source set on the rack ceiling twenty centimeters above the cage roof,” Yang explains. “This mimics the ‘domestic lighting’ condition as much as possible, which should greatly reduce the injury—theoretically.” However, the retinas of rats exposed to either blue or cool white LED light showed evidence of retinal damage and cell death after 9 days of exposure.” Read the full paper here.
If you have every had an after image or cringed at the harshness of the light from interior lighting, you are experiencing the body’s natural response to what is being shown in current studies to be perhaps more than harmful in causing damage to the retina which is the thin layer of photoreceptor cells in the back of the eye that is vital in vision. Damage to it can cause permanent blindness. Currently science hasn’t discovered how to repair the cells of the retina but they are working on it.
Life is really all about balance. We need sunlight. We humans developed for hundreds of thousands of years interfacing with sunlight and darkness and our bodies work best with Nature…appropriately timed and interfaced with our physiology. Sunlight and darkness drive chemical reactions fundamental to our vitality and health, our ability to be “Brilliant!”
Try these: a little bit of attention to the quality and timing of light will make a healthy difference.
- Change your bulbs—Check out these bulbs that are color-corrected for proper lighting.
- Unwind--avoid watching TV or working on your computer or mobile device 2-3 hours before bed. I bet there are other fun things you can do, like read a book or cuddle with your sweetie.
- Can’t do the above? Use red to orange spectrum lighting in the evening which is better for our bodies at night.
- Use a blue light filter for your devices, either an App (Twilight, BlueLight Filter or F.Lux, C.Lumen) or a screen protector/shield (TechArmor retina shields, SleepShield ). Here is more from the Daily Mail.
Our modern 24/7/365 lives see us spending up to 90% of our lives indoors, deprived of natural light and exposed to narrow spectrum lighting.
Just knowing this might help you make a decision to get outside more and soak up the sunshine.
Go be Brilliant!
PS I address more of why this is so important in my upcoming book. If you want to be notified when it’s available or read more about the Importance of Light and Color, Sign Up for lots of Good News!