Oh, the lights on the Christmas tree. They flicker in dull yet somehow sparkling reds, greens, and blues. It’s warm, it’s fuzzy (somehow) and when the lights everywhere else are low the tree commands the room. This year, same as last, there are even more flickering blues. They pulse with the rate of thumbs swiping up, over, and frantically across the screen of tiny handheld devices. They challenge the softly illuminating presence of Christmas lights wrapped around the delicate branches of a displaced fir tree.
Why are we talking about blue lights and smart phones? If you read our blog much, you know we focus on health. You may have figured out by now that this blog is no exception.
Without getting too terribly scientific, blue light falls on a spectrum. Those oranges and reds that soften the atmosphere emanating from your Christmas tree are what make you feel comfortable and calm. Even the harsher blues are fine, in small amounts. Notice the key phrase, “small amounts”. Let’s talk about why!
Blue light is good. We need to understand that first. We get our blue light from the sky outside on a sunny day, so it can’t be a bad thing because it’s a part of nature that’s been given to us for a reason. Blue light is what causes us to feel alive, awake, and ready to take on the day. Blue light is made up of short but intense wavelengths, and like a good cup of coffee, it hits your retina’s and says, “Wake up!”
Yet it’s the same light that comes from your cell phone, your computer, your television, your LED’s and fluorescents. And once again, just like coffee, it will drop you if you take in too much for too long. Excessive blue lights have been proven to cause fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, and the many indirect complications that result from these.
That doesn’t make them bad. We mentioned that the light on a sunny day is great, so it can’t be inherently evil. Everything in moderation, right? That’s why studies conclude with statements like, “Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.”
So what’s a good length of exposure? How much is too much? It’s not an easy question to answer, since every person responds to outside influences differently. The best approach is to pay attention to how you feel. Are your eyes hurting? Do you feel exhausted? Are the social media posts starting to blend together?
How you moderate your blue light intake is up to you. Certain social media outlets can create a never ending lull of scroll. We use them too. In fact, we love social media because it keeps us connect to you! Those little blue lights are a fantastic business tool! It’s just a matter of knowing when too much is more than enough.
That’s why the advancement of other social media tools like SnapChat have become so popular. One picture or video, only ten seconds to show it, and only 24 hours to see it. It’s quick. It’s easy. You get the story and you’re on your way. It can still be addicting but at least there is less temptation to hang out there all day!