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Blue Light, Beneficial or Harmful?

What is Blue Light?

There has been mounting research on blue light and how it affects our bodies. Blue light is one of the spectrums of light that we receive from the sun. Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green, and blue light rays with shades of these colors in between. When these colors are combined, this makes what we call sunlight. Blue light has a short wavelength with high energy as compared to rays on the red end of the spectrum that have long wavelengths and less energy. The light spectrum that you cannot see is ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light has the highest amount of energy and causes you to have a suntan. UV light does have benefits such as helping your body to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D, but can also cause skin cancer if you’re exposed to too much. When you walk outside on a sunny day, you are exposed to blue light. This is where you get most of your blue light from. Many of the devices that we use such as cell phones, tablets, flat screen TVs, computer monitors, and indoor fluorescent lighting also emit blue light. Blue light exposure from these devices has been coined junk light because it does not contain the full spectrum of light from the sun that we normally get. Mounting research is showing that this overexposure to blue light is causing sleep deprivation by not allowing our bodies to shut down at night. When you read a book or surf social media on your phone/tablet, then your body thinks it is time to be awake. Preventing your body from sleeping when it is ready will cause inflammation. When inflammation is present in the body, you are at an increased risk for disease processes, weight gain, immune suppression, and really, dysfunction of the body. Protect yourself from junk light by shutting down all devices, including watching TV, at least two hours before you go to sleep. Make sure that you have no visible light in your bedroom so your body can rest properly. Spend more time outdoors in the sun to balance your exposure to artificial light. Invest in yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light; this goes especially for those of us that look at a computer screen all day to reduce digital eye strain. There are some benefits to blue light exposure. It boosts alertness, helps memory and cognition, and improves mood. There is even blue light therapy which helps newborns with jaundice. Hospitals use blue light as an antibacterial agent to decontaminate clinical rooms. Blue light has been used to improve inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. Daytime sleepiness has been helped by blue light therapy. If you are looking for a partner in regaining your health, or just want to maintain your health in a better way, please schedule an appointment with Friends and Family Health Centers by clicking here. Our services include chiropractic care, car accident injury care, nutritional consultation, and muscle manipulation. This article is part of an ongoing series of articles based on the five foundations of health, written by Birmingham chiropractor Dr. John Palmer of Friends and Family Health Centers.Warning. This article has not been written to treat any medical issues concerning blue light. This article is based on the opinions of Dr. Palmer, unless otherwise noted. This article is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Palmer and his community. Dr. Palmer encourages you to make your own health-care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health-care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health-care professional before using products based on this content.

References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19016463
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/
  3. https://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1232
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26144940
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25535358
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/
  8. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp1837
  9. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

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