The blue light from our screens could be damaging our health

Here's what to do about it

We're surrounded by screens almost all of the time--our monitors, our TVs, our phones and tablets. The blue light that's emitted from these screens might not only be interfering with our sleep, but also affecting our health. There's no easy fix for this right now, but there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

Gigaom highlights some of the concerns with too much screen time, on our eyes, sleep, and overall health. The problem is the light from our screens suppressess our body's production of melatonin, which not only helps us sleep at night but also is an antioxidant that is linked with fighing certain illnesses and even cancer. Quoting Dr. Richard Hansler, a former GE Lighting developer and current researcher of the relationship between light at night and our health at John Carroll University in Ohio, the article says:

“I discovered that using light at night is bad for people’s health and interferes with their sleep. I felt a moral obligation to do something about it, particularly when I learned it’s the blue component in ordinary white light that is suppressing the production of melatonin. And melatonin not only helps you sleep but is a marvelous material that has a very big influence on health in general; specifically, if you don’t have enough you may develop diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even a couple kinds of cancer.”

One way to protect your eyes and limit the blue light is to install F.lux software (free). It reduces the amount of blue wave length light on your monitor, and you can set it to automatically adjust according to the time of day. There are also some blue light screen protectors for phones and monitors on the market, but, having never tried them, I'm not sure how well they work. 

And, finally, taking breaks from screen time--especially before bed--could do wonders for your sleep and possibly overall health.

Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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