What is blue light and why is it bad?

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We go back to school to find out what blue light is, and why we should be wary of it...
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What is blue light and why is it bad?

Why you should be using your smartphone’s blue light filter

Before we get into the why, it’s time for a quick science lesson on the what...

Blue light is one aspect of the visible light spectrum. In school you might remember shining light through a glass prism, creating a colourful rainbow-type effect. Alternatively, think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon album art (pictured above). That’s the blue we’re talking about.

The sun produces this blue light naturally, which helps our bodies regulate natural sleep. So, when it’s light outside, our brains understand it’s time to be awake. And when it’s not - it’s bedtime. However, tablet and smartphone screens produce an artificial type of blue light, which can mess up our snooze cycles. Which is bad.

It’s recommended that you should stop looking at blue light up to three hours before you plan on going to sleep, so your brain can wind down. It’s not dangerous, but it has been suggested that excessive exposure to blue light can make certain people ill.

How to disable blue light

So, we know that blue light is good in the day and bad at night. What do we do about that? Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. Your smartphone should have a filtering system on it somewhere that sucks all the blue light out of the screen. Depending which phone you have, the settings will be in different places.

  • iPhone: iOS users will be able to find their blue light filter in the Settings menu. Click on the grey cog app, and go to Display and Brightness. Then scroll down to Night Shift. Here you’ll be able to set it to turn on and off automatically, at whatever time you like. Or you can ask Siri, as shown above.

  • Android: It’s a similar journey for Android owners – just go to Settings > Display > Blue Light Filter. Some other phones, like Google Pixel for example, call it Night Light.

  • Other: If you can’t find the setting on your phone, it may not have one (or it could just be hiding). No worries though, your app store will have something on offer. Just search “blue light filter”.

What you’ll find, rather unsurprisingly, is that when this setting is turned on, your screen will be a sort of amber or red colour. This is totally normal, and will take the strain off your eyes. Plus, you’ll no longer have your retinas burned off when you check your phone in the middle of the night.

If you’ve got any questions about blue light filters, or want help finding the setting on your phone, drop us a comment below and we’ll get right back to you.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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