How does blue light affect Melatonin?
Melatonin and blue light. It’s a combination that most people don’t want to mix, and yet we love to mix it up pretty much every day without even noticing we’re doing it.
If you’ve read our page on “what is blue light” or any of the posts in our blog, you’ll know that any way you can limit the level of artificial blue light coming your way every day is going to help your brain declutter mixed signals and keep the natural process of your body thinking it has to go to sleep in check.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to discussing Melatonin, the effect blue light has on it, and why we need it. In this short blog post, we thought it would be a good idea to answer some common questions and hopefully help you understand Melatonin a little better.
What exactly is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that can help with your sleep cycle. It isn’t something that people actively try to get; it’s just something the body naturally makes to help you fall asleep.
How is Melatonin made?
The hormone is made in the pineal gland. If you imagine a straight line across the back of your ears, going through your head, the gland sits in the middle. It is tiny, with an average length of 0.8cm and weighing 0.1g.
How does the pineal gland know when to make Melatonin?
It’s all in the eyes, or rather, what the eyes are telling your brain. When it naturally gets dark in the evenings, your eyes are sending the signal to your brain that it must be getting close to bedtime. In response, the gland slowly releases Melatonin which is meant to help you relax and fall asleep.
Anything that can disrupt that interaction and interfere with your circadian rhythm (which the pineal gland also responds to) can mess up your sleep cycle. There’s no better culprit for causing that than our old friend blue light.
Can I take Melatonin?
It is available as a prescription for people who would be seen as having insomnia or find it very hard to fall asleep and/or keep their body in a proper circadian rhythm.
You may have had it before when taking tablets to avoid jet lag, and if you have, you’ll know all too well that it knocks your sleep cycle out of sync. The more opportunity you have to let your body create Melatonin naturally, the better.
How does wearing blue light filtering glasses help with Melatonin?
Blue light blocking glasses dramatically reduce your exposure to artificial blue light.
You could stand outside in the daytime, and your body will know that a beautiful bright day = time to be awake. However, when you’re at home in the evening or going to bed, it should be darker, so your body has all the right signals to release Melatonin and help you sleep.
We’re all a bit guilty though of coming home after spending a lot of the day looking at laptops and screens (which create blue light) to then watch TV, browse tablets and play with our phones & consoles which all – again – emit blue light.
Wearing glasses like those we have at Kanturo will do an excellent job of minimising exposure to blue light and give your eyes a chance to rest - rather than telling the brain and pineal gland to hold off on Melatonin release.
You can read more on blue light & its effect on sleep in our recent blog post here.
Want to see what blue light glasses look like?
You can look at the entire glasses collection here.You can also shop specifically for men’s blue light glasses and women’s blue light glasses