As my life currently stands, the nature of my work as a social media consultant requires me to spend between 8-14 hours per day staring at an electronic device. Whether I'm creating ad units, engaging with audiences or scheduling out content, pretty well everything I do to provide for myself involves me and a screen.
While I'd love to think that I'm anomaly when it comes to my relationship with technology, that is certainly not the case, as a recent MIT Technology article revealed that the average American spends 24 hours per week online. To some, the idea of spending just 1 out of 7 days in a week online doesn't seem that daunting, but the number soars substantially higher when you factor in time spent in front of technology in general -including non-online work, television, etc.
Knowing that my work requirements were not on the cusp of changing in the very near future, I decided to do something about it. I chose to invest $20 of my hard earned money on a pair of blue light blocking glasses, designed to cut out approximately 90% of the blue light hitting my eyes.
While the research behind blue light's potential negative impact on us is considered limited and arguable by many in the scientific community, the major area it is believed to impact is our sleep.
There are a handful of studies that have been conducted, with one of the most widely recognized being a study conducted on 20 adults where it was concluded that those given blue light blocking eyewear experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality. As someone who cherishes my sleep and knows how poorly I can function without a proper night's rest, this was enough to spark my curiosity.
So I decided to purchase these glasses off of Amazon, and have been wearing them every day that I've been home (which has been approximately 90% of the time) from 8PM onwards for the past month. Here are my 5 key takeaways from my experience in both written and video form:
1. They Have Improved How Quickly I've Been Able To Fall Asleep At Night
As someone, who like so many others, has been blessed with a mind that loves to become most active with random thoughts, ideas and concerns just as I'm trying to fall asleep, the biggest area of improvement for me was in how much quicker I was able to fall asleep at night.
Of course, there is the potential for other factors (including the placebo effect) to play a role in this experience, but I can confidently say that for the most part there were no significant other changes in my life. My days were just as long as they were before, and I regularly felt the same level of fatigue I felt prior to beginning this experiment that my mind would previously plow through in its efforts to keep me up.
This factor alone was more than enough to extend my interest in making blue light blocking glasses a regular part of my life.
2. They Are An Inexpensive Way To Be Proactive About Our Health
We live in a world where we as a collective largely choose to be reactive rather than proactive about our health. Rather than eating healthy, staying active and providing our body with the rest it regularly needs to rejuvenate itself, we opt to wait until we're hit in the face with an issue or health condition before we do anything about it.
Even though we don't fully know the extent to how damaging substantial blue light exposure is to our health (especially not in the long-term), we do know that the potential exists. So rather than waiting for the jury to deliver its verdict, why not choose to be proactive about guarding yourself against it, mitigating the chances that if it does prove to be detrimental, that you are part of the group that helped them determine that?
3. They Made Me More Consciously Aware Of My Technology Addiction
For most of us, myself included, technology has become so engrained within our lives that we don't even process how much time we spend interacting with it. Whether it be due to the nature of our work, or our sheer addiction to Facebook, Instagram or texting with our friends, there are probably few things in your life that you are more attached to than your phone and computer.
One unexpected factor that integrating blue light blocking glasses provided me with is that they made me more aware of my technology addiction by adding in that extra step. Since wearing them was a new experience for me, it heightened my conscious presence with everything that I did while wearing them. It was through this that I realized just how scary my addiction can be at times and just how critical it is that I am doing something about it.
4. We're Exposed To A Lot More Blue Light Than We Likely Think
While blue light is naturally emitted from sources such as the sun, it is also emitted from a lot more than you likely think. The biggest surprise to most is that in addition to coming off your phones, televisions and computers, blue light is also emitted from what is rapidly becoming the most common form of artificial light: LEDs.
So whether your house and workspace are fully retrofitted or just partly retrofitted with LED lighting, why not take a step to protect yourself against what is only going to become more and more prevalent due to its energy efficiency?
5. They Are A Positive Step On A Much Bigger Issue
I've already alluded to it throughout this article, but the biggest takeaway from my blue light blocking experience is that they are a positive step on something we all need to acknowledge and correct: our technology addiction. There are a million reasons (and growing) for us all to love our smartphones as much as we do, but we also know that our addiction to them is not sustainable.
I'm a firm believer that the we are all being sold on the illusion of greater connection through technology, while in reality we are more disconnected from one another than ever before. So if it takes some blue light blocking glasses to start the conversation on how serious our screen addiction may be, I'm all for it!
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