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Light-sensitive? Try blocking out blue light

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Altostrata

Some researchers believe that the blue part of the light spectrum, from artificial or natural light, can be activating.

There are claims that blocking blue light is calming for some people. Other researchers use blue light for stimulation in some circadian rhythm disorders.

Wearing glasses with amber lenses in the evening may help initiate sleep and correct a circadian rhythm problem by blocking blue light. From my Googling, I've found you need glasses with a deep amber tint. The best block more than 90% of blue light; very cheap ones will block some blue light but it might not be enough.

LowBlueLights.com carries fairly expensive blue-blocking glasses, monitor filters, lights, etc.

A brilliant Web researcher, Jim Phelps, M.D. in Corvallis, OR, recommends
- To wear without glasses: Skyper (http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S1933X-Eyewear-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B000USRG90)
- To wear over glasses: Ultraspec 2000 (http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S0360X-Ultra-spec-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B003OBZ64M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1294788538&sr=1-1) that fit over your glasses

Both of these are industrial safety glasses and may be available locally through, for example, a welding supply house.

Now here's some reading:

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John Carroll University (2007, November 14).

Blue-blocking Glasses To Improve Sleep And ADHD Symptoms Developed

ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 9, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/11/071112143308.htm

Scientists at John Carroll University, working in its Lighting Innovations Institute, have developed an affordable accessory that appears to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Their discovery also has also been shown to improve sleep patterns among people who have difficulty falling asleep. The John Carroll researchers have created glasses designed to block blue light, therefore altering a person's circadian rhythm, which leads to improvement in ADHD symptoms and sleep disorders.

How the Glasses Work

The individual puts on the glasses a couple of hours ahead of bedtime, advancing the circadian rhythm. The special glasses block the blue rays that cause a delay in the start of the flow of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Normally, melatonin flow doesn't begin until after the individual goes into darkness.

Studies indicate that promoting the earlier release of melatonin results in a marked decline of ADHD symptoms.

Better Sleep/Disease Prevention/Depression Relief

Major uses of the blue-blocking glasses include: providing better sleep, avoiding postpartum depression, preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder and reducing the risk of cancer.

An alternative to the glasses has also been developed in the form of night lights and light bulbs with coatings that block the blue light. Instead of wearing the glasses, an individual may simply turn off ordinary lights and, instead, turn on the ones with filters that remove the blue rays. The night light is a convenient "plug-in" device. The cost of the items ranges from approximately $5 for light bulbs and night lights to $40-$60 for glasses.

Background

Advancing the circadian rhythm has been shown to improve both objective and subjective measures of ADHD symptoms in studies at the University of Toronto. Twenty-nine adults diagnosed with ADHD participated in a three-week trial.

Dr. Richard Hansler is the lead John Carroll University researcher in the development and uses for the blue-blocking glasses. He is one of the principal owners of a company that makes these new products.

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08065/862394-51.stm#ixzz1Ls2RUX1q

Blocking the blue light blues: Glasses help wearers get better sleep

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
By Sally Kalson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

These amber-tinted glasses are designed to block the blue light that suppresses the body's production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

....
Physicist Richard Hansler, director of the institute and a founding partner of Photonic Developments, said research has confirmed that eye exposure to blue light suppresses the body's production of melatonin -- that's a sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland when the eyes are in darkness.

Blue light is a major emanation from television and computer screens, fluorescent light bulbs and, to a lesser extent, incandescent light bulbs. That means people who are glued to the tube, surfing the Web or reading by lamp light late into the night are unwittingly pushing back their body's "start time" for melatonin production.

....
"If the eyes are exposed to light at bed time, it will prevent the pineal gland from producing melatonin until you go into darkness," Dr. Hansler said. "If the light continues for a longer time, it can actually prevent the body from making melatonin that whole night."

Once the body does begin making the hormone, he said, it normally keeps doing so for seven to eight hours. This is why so many people are dragging in the early mornings, until their eyes are exposed to enough blue light to suppress the melatonin.

Sitting in a darkened room for two hours before bed would help reset the melatonin clock, but that's an impractical solution for many people.

However, Dr. Hansler said, wearing blue-light-blocking glasses while going about one's business in the evening would have a similar effect. (The company [LowBlueLights.com] also sells amber-colored light bulbs and filters that attach to computer and TV screens).

Melatonin production also depends on one other factor, he said -- the setting of one's body clock from the previous night. For that reason, blue-light-blocking measures might take a few days to improve sleep. But once a rhythm is established, he said, most people will sleep better at night.

 

 

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Here's a program that automatically turns the brighteness on your computer monitor down, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2519-computer-program-adjusts-blue-light-to-time-of-day/

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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Healing

This is fascinating! But, somewhat counterintuitive, for me at least, since I think of blue as a very calming *color*, and have always been drawn to it for that reason, especially during w/d. But, maybe when it's light (as opposed to fabric), it's different???

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Hopeful

Great article, thanks!

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Altostrata

This is fascinating! But, somewhat counterintuitive, for me at least, since I think of blue as a very calming *color*, and have always been drawn to it for that reason, especially during w/d. But, maybe when it's light (as opposed to fabric), it's different???

 

Yes, blue light is a specific wavelength and carries specific energy. It is "radiant" color as opposed to blue fabric, which is "reflective" color, if I remember my color theory correctly.

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Healing

This is some info I posted on light on another board in May 09 --

 

For several years, I got worse every year, within a few weeks of the winter solstice, as the light increased. Sleep and anxiety got worse. Apparently, increased light (Spring) seems to increase levels of testosterone and estrogen. Now, a normal person might even experience that as a pleasant thing ("In the spring, a young man's fancy, etc...). But, for us, any *change* can trigger the autonomic instability.

 

There are all sorts of rhythms in the body -- circadian, monthly, seasonal, etc. I was looking at Wikipedia, and I see that the strongest Zeitgeber or time giver for cuing all the rhythms is sunlight.

 

The suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus receives the information about the light from the retinas. Then it passes the information on to the pineal gland.

 

In w/d, we see people who can't sleep (melatonin and the pineal), menstrual cycles that are unrhythmic, people who get worse in the dark part of the year, people who get worse in the light part of the year.

 

So, maybe the pineal isn't operating properly, or maybe it is, but every time it sends a signal to start or stop a bodily rhythm, our systems overreact. This also seems like what SAD or reverse SAD might be -- a bodily overreaction to the normal shifts everyone goes through with the seasons. I would think that SSRI neuro damage could give you temporary SAD, just as it can *appear* to give us many other illnesses temporarily.

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Altostrata

....So, maybe the pineal isn't operating properly, or maybe it is, but every time it sends a signal to start or stop a bodily rhythm, our systems overreact. This also seems like what SAD or reverse SAD might be -- a bodily overreaction to the normal shifts everyone goes through with the seasons. I would think that SSRI neuro damage could give you temporary SAD, just as it can *appear* to give us many other illnesses temporarily.

 

From my consultations with a sleep doctor knowledgeable about withdrawal syndrome, I understand the pineal gland is not the culprit, it's working normally. It's other systems that are over-reacting.

 

He also said our eyelids are so thin we can sense small changes in morning light, which is why we need the blackout shades, sleep masks, etc.

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alexjuice

Reading this is like a new hope. My sleep over the past months has defied any rhythm, routine or schedule. Sometimes I simply fall asleep midday, other times I can't sleep but am too exhausted to do anything. In the past few days I've gone to bed at 11am, 4pm, 11pm, 2am, 7am ... I try to maintain a schedule but I simply become overcome with tiredness or insomnia and these states are practically random without any rhythm or consistency. And it's been this way - totally erratic, though usually 3-6 hrs for each sleep, for weeks and weeks.

 

Has anyone purchased a blue-blocking product either from amazon or the other site? If so, please share your experience or review.

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

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alexjuice

I am giving the glasses a try. I'll update on how it goes.

 

I put them on last night while the TV was on and fell asleep somewhat suddenly. Slept very well. Woke up with the glasses still on... Good start, still kinks.

 

I don't know why, but the degree to which my daily life has been altered sometimes leaves me speechless. John Lennon said life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. Ain't that the truth. My walk often resembles a drunkard's wobble. I eat, partially, like a toddler. I look like a clown in my clothing which no longer fits. And so on.

 

My situation is a misfortune that often makes life unbearable. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But being in it, it's almost absurd. The sheer number of things malfunctioning sometimes makes me chuckle -- it's like Murphy's Law decided to make an example of me. Of course, these problems result from my years of 'treatment' by Doctors. In light of all of this... It seems my potential coping strategies are... to find humor in the extremity of it all... to consume myself with anger and regret at those who 'treated' me ... or to fantasize about jumping off a bridge. I'll try to focus on the ridiculousness as best I can.

 

Anyway, that got off topic. I'll report on how I do with the shades.

 

Alex

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Hopeful

I ordered the glasses will report in after I try them.

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Altostrata

Wow, alex, that sounds like a pretty good initial result!

 

Humor, yes, that's one of the things that keeps us going.

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alexjuice

Glasses have had a positive impact on sleep for sure. I've been sleeping normal hrs (7-8) and at normal times (9 or 10pm to 5 or 6am).

 

It's getting to the point in the year when it's extremely sunny where I live. Does anyone foresee a problem wearing the glasses longer... not just at night? I've worn them some during midday and feel less anxiety and agitation.

 

Alex

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Altostrata

Reducing glare at any time is probably good for you, Alex, to calm down your nervous system.

 

Sleep is good for you, too. That's great feedback about those odd glasses.

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alexjuice

Since I started the wearing the glasses, I have had at least 7 hrs of sleep a night and the sleep has all been during the night.

 

However, I also stabilized on my benzo dose about a week or two before and for the first time in many months the meds are stable. So it's tough to give all the credit to the glasses as the stabilization in the meds happened more or less concurrently.

 

Still from my perspective, the glasses have been a massive success.

 

The problem, if there is one, is that I am tempted to wear them from mid morning til dusk. Doing so seems to calm anxiety and stress. Also the intensity of the sun has triggered symptoms. I avoid direct sunlight but when exposed to the sun, the glasses (sun glasses too) make a world of difference. It's gonna be a long summer as I live in Texas and we've got 100 consecutive sunny days on deck. However, when I take off the bluelight blockers, ometimes I will then get a headache or suffer other effects.

 

Nevertheless the glasses seem a big positive. Best sleep in many months. Least amount of extreme anxiety and fear in many months.

 

For others who share these symptoms -- sun sensitivity, stress, fear, anxiety, sleep issues -- I wonder if the glasses would help. If you try them, please leave feedback. I will continue to give updates on my experience.

 

Alex

 

Alex.i

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Altostrata

If they're calming, alex, go for it. That confirms the theory that bright light is agitating your nervous system.

 

Sounds like you're comfortable wearing them, too. Which ones did you get?

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Altostrata

alex, you'd been wearing regular sunglasses before? Do the amber glasses give different results?

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alexjuice

alex, you'd been wearing regular sunglasses before? Do the amber glasses give different results?

 

yeah, since i developed sun sensitivty i have always worn regular sunglasses for driving or going outside and occasionally indoors as well. Since receiving the amber sunglasses, I wear regular shades more sporadically, though still on occasion. I wear the amber sunglasses indoors a lot, far more than I ever wore regular sunglasses. Except for first hours of daylight, I wear eye protection 75+% of the rest of the day until dusk. Most of this time is spent in the house, usually at the computer (typical 21st century American I am). I always wear the ambers when working online and watching tv... i never wore regular sunglasses for those things. When driving i now wear the amber glasses but carry along the regular sunglasses. Once I reach my destination, I leave the ambers and go in with normal shades so as not to appear too sexy.

 

On sexy... that was a joke. The amber safety glasses are silly-looking. If I walked into a psychiatrist's office wearing welder's safety lenses... well, i'd just rather not do that...

 

Yes, results have been markedly different since I've been using the amber glasses. I believe I am more at ease, less stress/fear, better sleep since I started with the ambers. I'm not sure if they deserve all the credit or not. But this has been a very good week for sleep and stress.

 

Alex

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alexjuice

Not paying attention, I've been reading online for about 45 minutes without my amber glasses. A bit ago I started to feel anxious and certain news items were triggering me. Then, just a moment ago, I was rereading something I used to find stressing but had been dealing more effectively with of late. This topic just now was bringing on some of my symptoms. Thought to myself, "this is weird, i've been handling this lately."

 

That's when I realized i've been w/o my blueblocking glasses. that says something to me.

 

Alex

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Healing

Once I reach my destination, I leave the ambers and go in with normal shades so as not to appear too sexy.

:D Too sexy for your shirt?

 

Well, this is very intriguing about the results you're getting from the glasses. People often walk around in the house in early w/d wearing sunglasses and earplugs. (I still use the earplugs at the grocery store, because if I hear any music, it will be stuck in my head for a week or two.) Maybe we just need to use these better sunglasses and keep doing it for longer and it would make a difference in symptomology??????

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Hopeful

I ordered the glasses will report in after I try them.

 

I have had my amber glasses now for a couple of weeks...(ordered the same pair as Alex) and have found that they definitely do help if you are using the computer at night. Tonight for example I put them on at 9:00 and it is now 9:58 and I can hardly hold my eyes open.

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summer

 

I ordered the glasses will report in after I try them.

 

I have had my amber glasses now for a couple of weeks...(ordered the same pair as Alex) and have found that they definitely do help if you are using the computer at night. Tonight for example I put them on at 9:00 and it is now 9:58 and I can hardly hold my eyes open.

 

Umm Hopeful... is this good or bad - I mean about not being able to hold your eyes open.

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Altostrata

I'm gonna order me a pair of them oooogly shades.

 

I'll have to wear the kind that go over glasses -- ummmm, glam!

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Healing

You guys are too sexy! Where will it all end?! :blink:

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Hopeful

 

Umm Hopeful... is this good or bad - I mean about not being able to hold your eyes open.

 

 

:D :D Well for me getting to bed at a reasonable hour is a good thing!

 

(btw it isn't a w/d thing for me I was like this prior to ssris)

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Phil

Has anyone had problems using a laptop?

 

I usually use a desktop PC but today sat on my bed with a laptop. I wonder if the screen is different? I just feel weird and depressed and woozy all of a sudden.

 

My body also really aches from laying on my side, as if I've been lifting heavy weights. So it could be that instead, I dunno.

 

I've put on my sunglasses for now. They always make me feel better somehow.

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summer

Hi Phil... lately my back bothers me when I'm on the computer (a laptop). I try to sit up straight, which helps, but I forget and tend to slump. I'm in bed when I'm on my computer, but sitting in a chair doesn't seem to make much difference.

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Barbarannamated

This is very interesting. I've worn amber colored sunglasses or clipons for as long as i can remember. Joked that i preferred 'rose colored glasses' to the gray shade. I don't know if all ambers are blue blockers, but they do give a very pleasant effect. Gray makes things dark and dreary. I haven't tried the yellow night driving lenses.

WalMart and some drug stores sell clipons and the ultra sexy goggle type that fit over glasses. Stylin' oh yeah. B)

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Altostrata

Just want to add that if you are considering blue-blocking glasses, make sure they're actually blue-blocking and not just tinted -- yep, amber is the usual color. Apparently some unscrupulous manufacturers claim their products are blue-blocking when they're not really.

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Romido

Got my blublockers in yesterday's mail and wore them a couple hours yesterday and into the evening. My sleep has been messed up again with waking at 1 & 4 nightly. I had a bad, dizzy anxious day on Thursday and could barely make it through the day at work in the flourescent filled environment I work in.

 

But yesterday after they arrived I wore them and had good sleep last night, 1030 to 630, no wakeups.

 

So this morning I was feeling a little spacey headed and .. anxious, so I put them on again and amazingly it calmed things down quite noticeably, really. If its a placebo I will take it.

 

Mine were about $32, on the blublocker website, the ones with the Carl Sagan reference in the description. They are aviator style which is okay fashionable so I am going to be sporting these things a lot. Be careful if looking on their website, they have lots of fashion glasses mixed in, but only some are blue blocking. The vision you get with these things is quite different, kind of like a scorched earth look.

 

I am a little surprised they work like this but whatever non-drug help I can get to feel normal I am all over it.

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alexjuice

That's great Romido.

 

Last spring I went through a period where viewing the computer screen would cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms like anxiety/FEAR!, eye/skin dismcomfort and headache. The blue blocking glasses I bought really seemed to help.

 

Today I no longer need the glasses, but I'm just now considering going back to them for occasions of computer use after 5pm since I struggle with falling asleep.

 

Glad you found some relief.

 

Alex

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Altostrata
Read the reviews on Amazon for these glasses. Apparently a lot of people have purchased them after reading they can help reset circadian rhythms for sleep.

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Altostrata

Bumping -- also want to add that decent sunglasses can do the job of reducing light when you're on the computer or watching that big, bright flat-panel TV.

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Jemima

Wow, thanks for the tip, Alto. I just came close to blowing thirty bucks on a similar pair on the Blublocker site. (That's $14.95 for the glasses and $14.95 for UPS shipping. I detest getting anything important by mail.) Since I'm an Amazon Prime member, I can get these from Amazon much cheaper and faster. :D Nice!

 

I have a pair for computer use, which I'm wearing right now, but I need something that will fit over my glasses for driving.

 

That's a really interesting article, too.

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UnfoldingSky

Bumping to ask if anyone is still wearing the blue blocking glasses.  Did they help over the long term? 

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