Excessive blue light exposure is a new phenomenon in human history that may be to blame for an increase in the anxiety that people feel. Once only available during the day to stimulate and motivate humans, blue light might be wreaking havoc on your emotional status.

Blue light is normal and emitted by the sun to help your body release the hormone cortisol to keep you awake & alert throughout the day, however our digital devices also throw off blue light, and how many of us are on our devices before bed? Try to limit your device time in the evening hours when cortisol needs to be on the downslope so the sleep hormone melatonin can kick in for a good night’s sleep! DR. CHAD LARSON

 

In episode 40 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:

  • In modern times there has been a significant rise in the anxiety that people experience across all age groups, races, and genders
  • Five natural strategies can help to lower anxiety and to decrease chronic negative emotional states, they are, 1 breathing exercises, 2 limit excessive exposure to blue light, 3 improve sleep patterns, 4 make healthier food choices and 5 spend more time outdoors in nature
  • Blue light is the light that we are exposed to through the sun and is responsible for our times of alertness
  • Before modern conveniences and handheld devices, blue light’s job was to make us feel alert during the day, but we haven’t fully adapted to having blue light exposure at all times of the day, especially at night time
  • Digital handheld devices such as smartphones, video games, e-readers, computers, and tablets all emit blue light
  • A study released in 2010, examined how both red and blue light effect two important hormones, cortisol and melatonin
  • Cortisol and melatonin are responsible for setting something called the circadian rhythm, which regulates a person’s sleep pattern
  • Cortisol is the hormone that is responsible for making the body feel alert and awake
  • Melatonin is the hormone that is released later in the day to make us feel sleepy, and it allows us to fall asleep
  • When the amount of those two hormones gets out of balance, it can wreak havoc on a person’s mental status and create both anxiety and chronic negative emotional states
  • What researchers found was that when a person has excessive exposure to blue light two things happen
  • Excessive exposure to blue light results in increasing the amount of cortisol in the body and decreasing the amount of melatonin, which significantly alters a person’s ability to sleep
  • That results in altering a person’s circadian rhythm and can throw off their hormonal balance and lead to anxiety and chronic negative state conditions
  • Also, when you look at a device up close your eyes converge on it
  • The chronic convergence of your eyes causes strain, or something called asthenopia, which can have a host of negative consequences like migraines, neck strain, eye pain, and in more severe instances, it can lead to irritability and emotional agitation
  • Blue light and chronic eye convergence are a recent phenomenon and something that the eyes were not designed for
  • The older generation woke up and read the newspaper and maybe watched the news at night
  • So, their exposure to negative and anxiety-provoking messages was limited
  • Now, news is available around the clock, which means that negative messages are constantly being fed to us, which only further makes people feel anxious
  • It is also recommended that you give yourself a break from screen time at least every hour by either walking away and doing something else or closing your eyes
  • Moving your device farther away will also reduce your eye’s convergence and minimize eye strain
  • A symptom of eye strain is dry eyes
  • Studies show that merely looking at the outdoors helps to relax the brain and increase positive hormonal balance
  • Even looking at pictures of nature can help
  • To reduce anxiety and negative emotional feelings, let your body do its job by limiting screen time, giving your eyes a break, and putting your blue light emitting devices away at least 2 to three hours before bedtime for better rest and a more relaxed and stable existence

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