Toronto Star

Better light, better life

Can this simple phone filter protect your screen, your sleep and your skin? So it appears


Blue light is the new gluten. That’s the way it seems, no? The latest public enemy No. 1 has been blamed for everything from straining our eyes to messing up our sleep. Bad blue light! Very bad!

But what even is blue light and why are we so mad at it? Well, different colours of light have different effects on us. Blue light, for example, boosts alertness, mood and cognitive function, which makes it great for daytime. It’s also one of the most energy-efficient and lowcost forms of light, which might explain why it’s everywhere these days, from the screens on our devices to the light bulbs in our home.

The thing is, as Harvard Medical School put it, “blue light has a dark side” (good one, Harvard!). Namely, it can seriously disrupt our circadian rhythm. Now, light of any kind can do that because it hinders the secretion of melatonin,

the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. But blue light, also known as high-energy visible light or HEV light, is particular­ly bad.

In a study comparing blue light to green light, Harvard researcher­s found that “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)." That's

why sleep specialist­s often recommend switching off all devices at least an hour before bed.

They’re not the only experts who have a bone to pick with blue light. The Canadian Associatio­n of Optometris­ts states that “blue light scatters more in the eye and is not focused as easily as lower

nergy wavelength light.” This in turn creates what’s called “visual noise,” which reduces contrast and can lead to digital eye strain.

Also worrying are the potential effects of blue light on our skin. Some studies have linked it to premature aging, showing it can cause oxidative stress, destroy collagen and lead to changes in pigment — triggering melasma and dark spots — most notably in medium to dark skin tones. I take it back, blue light is way worse than gluten.

Luckily, there are ways to limit our exposure to it. One of those is blue-lightfilte­ring glasses. A 2017 study conducted by the University of Houston found that participan­ts wearing blue-light-blocking glasses showed about a 58-per-cent increase in their nighttime melatonin levels. So yes, they do work. But they won’t help you on the skin front, and they can be a bit impractica­l or pricey if you need prescripti­on lenses.

The ideal solution, of course, would be to limit our screen time, but it’s COVID and for a lot of us, that means our phones have become surrogates for human interactio­n.

Enter this blue light screen protector. Made of four layers of durable Japanese tempered glass, it filters HEV light and protects your phone screen against scratches. (It also has antimicrob­ial silver guarding ions to you keep against germs the at bay evils and of blue prevvyg light.

You can’t really see the difference, honestly, which is actually a good thing. Unlike switching your phone to “Night Shift” or dark mode, which adjusts your display to warmer tones to make it easier on your eyes, a blue light screen protector blocks out blue wavelength­s without affecting the image you see onscreen.

One thing I did see when using it, however, was how much better I slept. To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking of that when I stuck this on my phone. (I was much more concerned about my collagen.) But within days, I slept the whole night through for the first time in months. Lately, I wake up actually excited to do things. It’s like I’m a whole new person.

So colour me converted. All that’s left is getting one for my laptop.

 ??  ?? Save (Ur Pretty) Faceb blue light blocking filter $42, thedetoxma­
Save (Ur Pretty) Faceb blue light blocking filter $42, thedetoxma­

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