bad blue light – what the?
The effects of blue light can be good or bad. Good blue light is essentially what is found in nature, aka daylight and the sun. This raises our cortisol levels which is essential for us to feel awake and full of energy throughout the day. Natural blue light is also mixed with other colours, such as infrared, which is one of the best sources of light for our bodies.
Unfortunately, these days we also expose ourselves excessively to bad or negative blue light. Negative blue light is found in pretty much all sources of artificial light. This includes the obvious ones like; computers, mobiles and TVs but also includes lamps, fridges, microwaves, ovens … the list is long!
So why is this negative blue light so bad for us? As we know, blue light tells our bodies that it should be producing cortisol to keep alert encouraging the stress-responsive gene, which is not ideal for when we are unwinding at the end of the day or trying to sleep.
What’s more, the exposure to light (especially blue light) suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is an essential hormone that ensures we have quality deep sleep, allowing our bodies to restore. Harvard University has shown that the exposure to blue and green light after dark disrupts our sleep and increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease, anxiety and cancer.
beating the blues – in your home
Light is often a very under appreciated stage in interior design, though we would argue one of the most important. It affects how we view colours and textures and how we feel when we enter a space. We literally cannot go to a restaurant that has cool white lights, it makes us feel unwell and does not create an atmosphere that we want to spend time in.
Light is therefore critical to get right as it not only affects our perception of a space but can also be quite damaging to our health we touched on above. So what can we do to ensure maximum wellness within our homes through light?
step one – light sources
Ok, so this is where things can get a little tricky (and frustrating) as our health and environment are at odds. LED lighting is more energy efficient than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, however they also produce more light in the blue spectrum which is not great for our health. A couple of companies are very close to producing a red LED bulbs which would be a win / win for the environment and health concerns, but not so great for the aesthetics of your home.
As a compromise we would recommend to keep your light fittings with a warm LED bulbs, but reduce the amount of lights you have on in the evening. A lounge room with one lamp on and beeswax candles flickering in the background will create a lovely warm atmosphere that will also signal to your mind that it’s time to start unwinding.
step two – candles
It’s the evening, minimal lights are on and you are about to light your candles. However the type of candles you burn does make a big difference. If you have read some of our earlier blogs you’ll already know that we are quite passionate about Beeswax candles. Even all natural soy candles infused with essential oils can become toxic when burned, defeating the purpose of buying an ‘all natural’ candle in the first place.
Beeswax candles on the other hand have no scent infused but rather a subtle honey smell. There are some articles that go further and claim that beeswax candles clean the air by actively binding and remove airborne toxins, however this is fake news as no candle produces enough energy to achieve those claims. Regardless of beeswax candles not being superheroes, you can be rest assured that they are not contributing to additional toxins in your home.
step three – blackouts
Even if all the house lights are turned off, our circadian rhythm can be disrupted by indirect light sources. Street lights, headlights or our neighbours sensor light being triggered can creep into our room and disturb our sleep. Black out curtains as the name suggests are curtains that are designed to block out any light when fully closed. They are generally made from tightly woven fabric with a heavy backing that light cannot penetrate through. Block out curtains are also great for insulation, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
step four – non interior tips
Change the colour filters on your i-phone to red – yes this does put your photos in a constant state of sepia….but you’ll get used to it 😉 You can set it to a timer if you prefer to not have it on all the time.
Set the Hue Slider all the way to the left and the Intensity Slider ‘almost’ to max (to the right) but not all the way otherwise you won’t be able to see much.
Try wearing tinted glasses (red or orange) in the evenings up until bed to help filter out blue lights from technology. Check out blublox for some nice designs.