- The Circadian Rhythm
- The Big Breakthrough in Blue Blockers
- How to Test Your Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Pros of Blue/Green Blockers vs. Blue Blockers
- Cons of Blue/Green Blockers vs. Blue Blockers
- The Other Big Problem With Most Blue Light Glasses – They Still Let Blue Light Into Your Eyes On The Sides
- Summary: The Two Big Problems With Almost All The “Blue Blockers” On the Market
- The Real Solution For Optimal Circadian Rhythm, Health, And Sleep: You Want Green and Blue Light Blocking Glasses That Wrap Around The Eye Socket
- Final Words On The Best “Blue Blockers” (i.e. Best Blue/Green Blockers)
- The Best Blue Blockers For Amazing Sleep (The Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses / Blue Light Glasses) – Show Notes
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WatchFirst of all, I want to mention that there are different types of blue blockers for different types of purposes. It’s possible to use blue light blocking glasses for:
- Pre-bedtime use at night to block blue light from entering the eyes and supporting good melatonin production (and sleep). In this case, you want true blue blockers, not just blue reducers – i.e. you want to completely eliminate all blue light. (And, actually, as you’re going to learn in this article, it’s not only critical to eliminate blue light, but your blue light blocking glasses need to do more than that ideally.)
- Daytime use when you are spending lots of time in front of a screen (and are getting too much artificial blue light). In this case, the proper term is actually “blue reducer” or “blue reducing glasses.” You don’t want to block all blue light, but just minimize excess artificial blue light from electronic devices. For this use, you don’t want true blue blocking glasses (which are amber or red) – you want clear or lightly tinted glasses that are designed to block only part of the blue light spectrum.
The Circadian RhythmIn order to understand why blue light glasses matter at all, you first need to understand the brain’s “circadian rhythm.” A mountain of scientific research has now shown that the degree to which your circadian rhythm is healthy and optimized has a huge impact on your risk of dozens of diseases, your longevity, your body composition, and your energy levels. In fact, in people with chronic low energy and daytime tiredness, one of the single biggest causes is circadian rhythm disruption and poor sleep. So, first of all, what is the “circadian rhythm” and why does it matter? You may have heard of people mentioning the “circadian rhythm” or “circadian clock” and you may have some vague concept that it has something to do with sleep, but it is much more than that, so let’s get a little clearer on this. All of life on this planet has evolved in alignment with the daily 24-hour pattern of light and dark and as a result the physiological and behavioral processes of all organisms including humans is synchronized to this 24-hour cycle. The circadian rhythm is simply your body’s biology responding to the external signals of light and dark. On a very direct, practical and “every day” level… Want to know why you get sleepy at night and then fall asleep for 7 to 9 hours? That is your circadian clock in your brain controlling hormones and neurotransmitters. Want to know why you wake up in the morning and stay awake all day? That is your circadian clock in your brain controlling hormones and neurotransmitters. The truth goes way beyond just waking up and going to sleep. Our body’s whole hormonal symphony is in tune with light and darkness, and light and darkness moderate our core body temperature, set off reparative hormones to heal wounds, and power down systems that need cellular repair at night. Our bodies respond to visual cues in our environment, chiefly light and darkness, to release hormones and neurotransmitters that either power us up and awake for daytime or prepare us for sleep and repair. To simplify:
- Light = cue to the brain to be awake, alert, active and go into ENERGY mode
- Darkness = cue to the brain to be tired and go into SLEEP mode
- Strong circadian rhythm = deep sleep, powerful cell regeneration, and lots of energy
- Blunted circadian rhythm = poor sleep, incomplete cell regeneration, and chronic fatigue/tiredness
- Contribute to inflammatory diseases. 
- Dramatically weaken your immune system and increase susceptibility to infections by over 5 fold.
- Increase risk of cancer, and metabolic syndrome. ,
- Increase risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Increase levels of stress hormones like cortisol. 
- Predispose to cancer, and accelerate tumor growth. (Tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.)
- Increase risk of psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
- Seriously impair your memory.
- Worsen a long list of other diseases and disorders, including Hypothyroidism (i.e. slow metabolism), heart disease, stomach ulcers, constipation, mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
- Accelerate the aging process.
- Increase rates of depression and anxiety.
- Profoundly decrease energy levels and increase daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
- Dramatically increase your overall risk of dying from any cause.
(If you want to learn more about how circadian rhythm affects your sleep, go check my article where I go in-depth with all the science-backed factors that distrupts your circadian rhythm.)Where do blue light blocking glasses and “blue blockers” fit into all of this? Simple: In order to have a healthy circadian rhythm, you must minimize your exposure to man-made light at night after the sun goes down. To keep your brain (and your hormones and neurotransmitters that are regulated by the circadian rhythm) working properly, you must mimic the environment that your brain is designed to sense in the hours before bed. To do this properly, you need to do one of two things:
#1. Completely eliminate all sources of artificial light in your home for 2 hours prior to sleep. That means no TV, no phone use, no indoor lighting, no iPads, no streetlight light coming through the windows, no computers, etc. and only use fire light or candle light as light sources.Since that option is guaranteed to be too extreme for 99.9999999% of people reading this, fortunately there is another option…
#2. Control the light entering your eyes by wearing glasses that specifically block the wavelengths of light from these man-made light sources that affects our circadian rhythm. That way, we can still use our computer, phone, TV, indoor lighting, etc., while also maintaining an optimal circadian rhythm!Option #2 it is! So, how do you do that? The most important single strategy to do here is to use glasses at night for 1-2 hours before bed, that block out the harmful wavelengths of light.
The Big Breakthrough in Blue Blockers
IT’S NOT ONLY BLUE LIGHT THAT MATTERS, BUT GREEN LIGHT AS WELL! TO OPTIMIZE YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM AND SLEEP, YOU NEED BOTH GREEN AND BLUE BLOCKING GLASSES!For many decades, it has been thought that the circadian clock in our brain only responds to blue light. I myself taught this for many years. Thus, the goal has been to use glasses that specifically block the blue spectrum of light – i.e. “blue blockers.” And there are actually several companies on the market that make highly effective blue light blocking glasses that do block out most or all light in the blue spectrum. Boom. Problem solved. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, we now know that’s not the case. Here’s the big problem: As of just a few years ago, it has now been discovered that it’s not only blue light that disrupts the circadian clock, but also green light!, It has now been discovered that light in the green range (up to 550nm) also suppresses melatonin and sends a “daytime” signal to the brain! So, the reality is that even if you have blue blockers from one of the top companies that actually do make glasses which completely block all blue light (and remember, most “blue blocking glasses” on the market don’t even do that), you’re still not doing enough to fully optimize your circadian rhythm. Want to know if your current blue blockers block both blue and green? Well, it’s pretty much a guarantee that they don’t, but if you want to test it for yourself…
How to Test Your Blue Light Blocking GlassesPut your glasses on and look at the boxes below. The one on the left is blue, but should appear black. The one on the right is green, but should appear dark gray or black. This test will first of all allow you to test whether your blue blockers are actually blocking blue light effectively (note: most “blue blockers” on the market don’t actually completely block blue light.) If the blue box doesn’t appear black and you can still see any blue, that means you only have partial blue blocking lenses. And even if you have true blue blockers, you’ll notice that it doesn’t change the color of the green box and you can still see the green color coming through very well. That is a big problem. It is true that blue light is a more powerful disruptor of circadian rhythm and a more powerful suppressor of melatonin. But, significant amounts of green light – like the amounts we get from indoor lighting and electronic devices like phones, computers and TVs – are enough to suppress melatonin and completely disrupt circadian rhythm, even if you are wearing glasses that block out blue light. In a natural environment (prior to the advent of man-made artificial lighting), after the sun went down, the only sources of light were the moon, the stars and firelight. All of these sources of light have very minimal blue and green light in their spectrum, and are very low intensity (in terms of the overall light intensity, measured in “lux.”) So, here’s the reality… After the sun goes down, we are designed for an environment that has little to no light in the spectrum below 550nm and is mostly orange and red (550nm and above). The wavelengths above 550nm have essentially no impact on melatonin and circadian rhythm, in the way that blue and green light do. In other words, we can sit by a fire or in a room lit with candles and that light does not disturb circadian rhythm at all. But the big problem is that modern man-made artificial light – from indoor room lighting, to cell phones, to TVs, to iPads, to computers, to car headlights, to streetlights all have lots of blue and green light wavelengths. In many cases, these light sources are actually mostly blue and green light. So, the simple fact is that we now know that even the top of the line blue blockers that completely block all blue light are still not enough to keep your circadian rhythm healthy. The truth is that you actually need BLUE LIGHT BLOCKING GLASSES THAT ALSO BLOCK GREEN LIGHT (i.e. Blue/green blockers). Now, I realize that this is annoying. I was also annoyed when I first discovered this new research showing that green light also disrupts the circadian rhythm and that I needed to upgrade from blue blockers to blue and green blockers. Another expense. Another inconvenience. I get it. But it’s just the reality that science progresses. We learn more, and as we learn more, we need to update our strategies to optimize our health. So, if you’re committed to optimizing your health and energy levels, this is a key strategy to implement. With that said, let’s talk about the pros and cons of blue/green blockers vs. blue blockers.
Pros of Blue/Green Blockers vs. Blue BlockersHere’s the good news: When you upgrade from blue blockers to glasses that block both blue and green light, you will be rewarded handsomely. You will:
- Fall asleep faster
- Sleep deeper
- Have fewer night awakenings
- Allow your body to spend more time in the brain-restoring phases of deep sleep
- Produce more melatonin (which protects your mitochondria from damage) and is a powerful anti-aging and health-promoting hormone
- Have more energy and vitality during the day as a result of all the above
Cons of Blue/Green Blockers vs. Blue BlockersNow, not everything is rosy and wonderful though (even though the glasses are actually quite rosy in a literal sense). There are a couple cons worth noting:
#1. The lenses are darker, so it’s harder to see through them and see a person’s eyes (which is relevant to social gatherings, etc.). So, they will make you seem odd if you’re wearing them at a party or hanging out with friends at night and wearing the glasses.
#2. More significantly, the biggest downside is that by blocking blue and green light, you further decrease color perception when watching TV or working on the computer. Some people are surprised to discover that when wearing the glasses, they see much less color when watching movies or TV shows. Unfortunately, this goes with the territory. By blocking blue and green light, you … well… block blue and green light!
In other words, shades of blue and green colors on TV shows will appear flat (shades of grey). So the experience becomes a little more like watching TV in black and white. Not quite that bad, but you get the idea. Again, this MUST happen. You cannot have glasses that block blue and green light that still allow you to see blue and green colors on the TV as you would without the glasses. It is not possible. Now, I personally find this to be no big deal. After two nights, I got used to watching TV and movies like this and I don’t even think about it at all now.
But some people will find it annoying and can’t get over it. If you’re an artist and you do work late at night right before bed (which by the way, you shouldn’t be – you should be winding down for bed – but if you do…), and you need totally accurate color perception on your computer to do your work properly, then you can’t wear these glasses. Though you probably also can’t wear regular blue blockers either, because those will also alter color perception. If you’re a movie buff or love TV shows and you just cannot stand the thought of the colors of the TV being altered a bit, and you’d rather suffer health consequences than deal with altered colors on your movies and TV shows, then hey, these glasses probably aren’t for you.Please realize that this only applies to literally the last 1-2 hours of your night that you are wearing the glasses. So there are some negatives to be aware of here, but this is a small price to pay for better sleep, improved brain health, decreased risk of dozens of diseases that are linked with circadian disruption, and more energy. If you are serious about living your life with maximal health and energy levels, taking care of your circadian rhythm (and wearing blue/green blockers for at least an hour before bed) is a must.