A pair of orange glasses is said to improve sleep by inhibiting particular wavelengths of light emitted by electronic screen. Research show that the blue part of the spectrum delays the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to induce sleep. Although blocking blue light is a feasible study and that some of these technologies have been tested and proven effective, experts still say that the best way to induce sleep is still to avoid any form of bright lights from electronic devices at night.

A Swiss study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health monitored 13 teenage boys who were asked to spend a couple of hours in front of the computer screen before going to bed, just like an average teenager would. The experiment, which was conducted every night for one week, also involved asking the boys to don orange-tinted eyeglasses or “blue blockers.” The participants reported that they felt more sleepy during the duration of the study, compared to when they just wore clear glasses.

Blue light does not cause much significant effect to the elderly population as their eye lenses are generally starting to turn yellow, and other degenerative eye changes associated with age filter blue light. However, one study, which involved participants aged between 18 and 68 years, found that wearing amber-tinted eyeglasses can also help to improve sleep among this group, who are also made up of older adults. The results of the study yielded better results compared to a study conducted for a control group whose members were asked to don yellow-tinted glasses, which protect from ultraviolet light only.

Examples of devices that emit blue light include smartphones and tablets. These gadgets are usually powered by light-emitting diodes, or LED, that releases more blue light compared to products that uses incandescent technology. Televisions are also a good example of a blue light source, but according to Debra Skene, a professor of neuroendocrinology at the University of Surrey in England, the relatively farther distance of the eye when watching TV compared to using handheld devices decreases the blue light effects of televisions. Christopher Colwell, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles inputs, “Conceptually, anything that will decrease that blue light exposure at night will be helpful. I know some gamers who swear by those orange-tinted goggles.”

Although orange-tinted glasses show promising results, not all brands can perform well. Some glasses in the market have not undergone sufficient independent testing that can confirm their ability to induce sleep. Skene also adds that blue light is the only factor that can affect sleep; intensity of light and colour are also valuable factors to consider.

Matt Nicoletti, a 30-year-old hospitality consultant in Denver, swear by these orange-tinted eyeglasses, saying it helps him sleep more easily. He dons his $8 glasses every evening before reading emails and watching late-night comedy. The brand of his glasses is called Uvex, and he said that the brand also makes glasses of different colours. Furthermore, he uses mobile applications to alter blue light effect, such as f.lux and Twilight.

Other companies have joined the surge of this light technologies. LowBlueLights.com, a company from Ohio, have developed iPhone and iPad screen protectors that is said to filter blue light. “Low blue” LED lights and other range eyewear have also been produced by multiple companies.

According to Kenneth P. Wright, Jr., director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said blue light is good during the day time, saying that that’s what the human brain knows. He led a study published in the journal Current Biology in 2013, which showcased the circumstances without nighttime lights. His study involved individuals who were asked to camp for a week, without electronic gadgets, the participants were found to sleep at least two hours earlier than their usual bedtime.

Experts advise that it is best to use small screen rather than big ones, and to limit the time spent in front of electronic screens. It is also highly encouraged to dim the screen and keep it as far from the eyes as possible. “If you can look at the iPhone for 10 minutes rather than three hours, that makes a lot of difference,” Skene closes.

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