Not too long ago, children really only had access to one screen: the television screen. Generally, this screen was in a fixed location, and would play programs at preset times. Kids would plop down in front of the TV, watch a show or two, and then head out to do other things. Screen time was relatively limited and clearly defined.
Fast forward to today.
Thanks to advances in mobile technologies, screens now go where the kids go. At the same time, streaming and other on-demand entertainment services present nearly unlimited content options, available whenever a child might want them. And, with recent changes to educational guidelines, many young students are now learning remotely as well, using digital video conferencing during school hours to interact with teachers and peers in virtual classrooms.
The end result? Screen time is becoming all the time. And that may be having some serious ramifications to your child’s sleep habits.
Blue Light and Sleep
Human beings are diurnal animals — as a species we’re more active during the day and prefer to rest and recuperate at night. As such, our bodies have evolved to use daylight — specifically high-energy blue light in the 455nm wavelength range — to help us calibrate our natural sleeping cycles. When the sun is out and shining, we’re more alert and energetic. When the sun goes down, we become more tired and our bodies get to work producing melatonin and repairing themselves from the stresses of the day. These cycles are called circadian rhythms.
However, digital screens produce that same 455nm blue light. And because our bodies use blue light as an indicator of time of day, overusing digital screens and using them during non-daylight hours can throw our vital circadian rhythms completely out of balance. This disrupts the body’s natural melatonin production, resulting in poor sleep, and potentially leading to reduced focus, memory and cognitive impairment, anxiety, depression, eyestrain, headaches, obesity, and even reduced immune system function.
And unfortunately, children are the most susceptible to the negative effects of blue light.
Glasses for Screen Time?
Children need more sleep than adults. As such, they experience the negative effects of sleep disruption much more clearly. At the same time, children’s eyes are less fully developed, and more sensitive to high-energy blue light. Or, as the American Medical Association explains: “Exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents.”
Of course, digital screens do provide certain benefits: They allow kids a chance to explore new ideas, communicate with loved ones across long distances, attend school remotely, and more — simply cutting children off from digital screens could do more harm than good. And remember, it’s not the screens themselves that are the problem; it’s the 455nm blue light produced by the screens that interrupts circadian rhythms and keeps kids from getting enough rest. So, if you want to protect your child from digital screens, your best option is to filter out the blue.
And that means finding effective blue light glasses for screen time.
Unfortunately, most blue light glasses on the market are not capable of providing the level of protection that young eyes need. Clear blue light glasses that use standard lenses coated in resin can only block 20% – 30% of harmful blue light. Other companies that sell tinted lenses are able to do slightly more, but still fall short of 100% protection. The end result in both cases is the same: After only a few hours of screen time, the wearer’s melatonin production drops significantly, possibly leading to sleep disorders and related health concerns.
Blue Free Optical: 100% Blue Light Protection for Kids
Blue Free Optical lenses are the only blue light glasses that offer complete blue light protection. Constructed using synthetic melanin built into the lenses themselves, these glasses are able to block out 100% of blue light at the most damaging high-energy wavelengths up to 455nm, while still allowing the wearer to see non-blue colors clearly.
And, because children’s bodies are more susceptible to blue light at night than they are during the day, Blue Free Optical also offers orange tinted nighttime lenses that extend blue light protection up to 550nm (into the green portion of the spectrum), to ensure optimal melatonin production, improved sleep, and reduced risk of blue light related health problems in children and youth.
Screen time has grown in recent years, and we’re growing along with it. With Blue Free Optical, kids can enjoy all of the advantages of modern digital screens, and still get a full night’s sleep once it's time to put the devices away.
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