What is junk light?
Junk light is comprised of various types of artificial light created by humans through use of technology. Some types of junk light are worse than others. The most harmful are fluorescent and LED lights as these contain a lot of blue light wavelengths. Interesting fact: Blue light and color was not ever perceivable by humans until several thousand years ago and it still causes more strain. There is more and more light being generated and we are trying to invent new more efficient ways of producing light such as LED. While this is great, we are being exposed to more harmful junk light than ever before. Take a look at our planet at night from space. The amount of light is staggering.
What is the problem with blue light?
At dusk and dawn there is no shortage of blue light wavelengths. These are critical drivers of circadian rhythm that regulate a lot of important biochemical processes in your body. Trouble starts with moderation and timing. We are ever more exposed to LCD displays of your phones, tablets, TVs, computers, even in your car. Most are backlit by LED and florescent light emitters. Add to it fluorescent lights at your home, office, shop signs and increase in street lighting based on LED technology. In a nutshell we are getting way too much blue light and at the wrong time.
Being exposed to junk light couple of hours before going to bed will have an impact on melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that regulates your sleep. It gets produced only in total darkness and is key in production of other beneficial, even essential compounds in your biochemistry. Melatonin is the only hormone I'm mentioning in this post. There are many other hormones, proteins (photopigments such as Melanopsin) as well as whole slew of neurotransmitters involved that are a part of this fascinating sleep chain.
Here is the real bad news. Exposure to too much blue light at night is preventing your eye retinas from repairing and regenerating. Over time this may cause macular degeneration that could cause blindness.
How to reduce exposure to harmful junk light?
In general, keep some incandescent or even better, halogen lights. Halogens are more energy efficient over incandescents. These produce some UV and near infrared and infrared light that is beneficial to your eye retinas. I purchased several infrared heat lights that offset the light from the bathroom light bar. It may seem a bit odd at the beginning, but the warm red light is very pleasant in the winter.
In the evening about two hours before you go to bed, start winding down on your light intake. Adjust back-lighting on you LCD devices. Most have night mode setting reducing the light intensity and increase the red tint that cuts down on blue emissions. If you use LCD monitors use utility such as f.lux. It is free and it works well. I use it at home and at work.
I also use yellow lens glasses that filter out the blue light. You can feel the reduction in eye strain and even stress. Great for the office that is full of florescent lighting. These glasses help improve night driving and they significantly reduce glare and impact of the junk light coming from other cars, signs and buildings encountered along the road. I also have a pair that have red lenses that I use couple of hours before bed time. These awesome products are called TrueDark™ Twilight & Daywalker Elite Set can be found at Biohacked.com.
I have also written a review of TrueDark Daywalker glasses where you can find our more about this product. Should you desire, you can purchase the glasses on Biohacked TrueDark web site.
When you go to bed make sure you sleep in total darkness. Turn off all devices that blink or otherwise indicate something. Your cable box, Wi-Fi router, phone. If the device must stay on to recharge for example, tape the indicating light with black electrical tape.
Natural daylight as an antidote for artificial lights during the day.
The opposite of junk light is natural outdoor daylight. We have evolved outdoors chasing prey or gathering food. This is in our genome. Artificial lighting during the day when you are in the office is messing up your systems. Any light at bedtime is a detriment to your health.
During the day maximize exposure of unfiltered daylight. Unfiltered means you are not wearing sunglasses or sit in the car that has reflective film in the windows. Building windows are also equipped with UV and other filters that remove beneficial wavelengths of light. You need all wavelengths as mother nature created them for you.
At night it is simple. Turn all sources of light off. You don't need them as you need you beauty sleep...