Wearing high quality orange glasses at nighttime is one of the most effective ways to maintain a robust circadian rhythm.
They block out the strongest melatonin suppressing wavelengths and still leave you with enough color rendition to go about your normal activities. I consider them an absolute must have when using a computer, phone, or tablet at night. For best results, don them about the same time every night regardless of screen usage.
These are the popular and cheap Uvex S1933X Skyper safety glasses. As you will see, they are a quick and dirty way of getting the job done. Not only that, but they will have you looking quite sexy indeed! You can get a pair of these bad-boys on Amazon for under $10 with Prime shipping.
UPDATE: Try out these MUCH nicer looking blue blockers.
To test out how effective they are, I took a color spectrum of a compact florescent (CFL) lamp before and after applying orange Uvex glasses. CFL’s put out a strong blue wavelength that you definitely want to avoid at night. You can see that as the glasses are put over the spectrometer, the blue light spectrum is completely eliminated leaving only green, yellow, and red.
Effects on CFL Lighting
Here is another one showing daylight before and after.
Effects on a Sunny Day
Notice how it not only wipes out all the blue spectrum, but it also takes out about half of the green as well.
That’s the best part. They are the perfect way to test out all this light hacking stuff we’re talking about without breaking the bank.
Just put them on around the same time every night and your good to go. You don’t need to change much else around the house. No dimmers to install, no “filtering” software to install, and no need to overhaul the lighting systems in your home. There are many ways to optimize your lighting exposure, but this is the single most potent and simple hack around.
These are a must have if you are traveling. It’s way easier to throw a pair of these bad boys on than changing out all the lamps in your hotel room to orange or red!
As you can see from the above tests, these are very effective at blocking out the most disruptive wavelengths of light. They do let in about half of the green spectrum of light, which is why you can get somewhat decent color rendering. While the green wavelength still has disruptive potential, it is much less than blue wavelength. If you really want to protect yourself you can get some red glasses that will knock the rest of the green out as well. Of course, everything will look, well…red. In my experience and the experience of many others, orange glasses strike the perfect balance between functionality and usability.
Colors look funny
Yes colors look funny, but you do get used to it soon enough. Because of the color rendering, they are not suitable for graphic design or other color sensitive work. Due to the complete blocking of the blue spectrum, you may have trouble seeing blue lights. I can’t see the blue notification light blinking on my phone while wearing these. Come to think of it, maybe that is more of an advantage than not! If you want to see something really awesome, go outside in the daytime wearing these. Psychedelic!
You look ridiculous
My wife is pretty understanding with my unusual ways, but she draws the line at her husband wearing weird plastic orange glasses during a dinner party. Let’s face it, they’re not exactly stylish or classy. One of the most offensive nighttime environments for your circadian rhythm is the grocery store. Nothing like blazing florescent blue light smacking down your melatonin as you stop to get some groceries on the way home from work. Unfortunately, the only way you can protect yourself is by wearing your orange glasses. If you want to test your self confidence and/or see how many strange looks you can get, go ahead and wear a pair while going about your after-dark shopping.
This problem is actually much worse for people who wear prescription glasses. Currently the only inexpensive option is to wear goggle style glasses that go over top of the regular glasses. If your going for the “mad scientist” look then get yourself a pair of the goggles and enjoy. They do make some clip on orange filters that fit on some types of eyeglasses. If you wear glasses it’s worth looking into.
So there you have it, a brief rundown of the most powerful and lowest cost health and wellness “hack” that I know of. Get yourself a pair of blue blockers and get started tonight.
UPDATE – You no longer need to look ridiculous!
We have taken matters into our own hands and designed a pair of blue blocking glasses that have all the blue blocking power of the UVEX glasses without the fashion statement. Available now on Amazon.