Blue light has this impact on your health

13 December 2023


Smartphones, tablets, laptops, televisions: the blue light emitted by all these electronic devices affects our health, according to scientists. Why is that, and what can you do to reduce the impact of blue light?

What is blue light?

There are two forms of blue light: natural blue light and artificial blue light. The main source of natural blue light is sunlight. This form regulates our biorhythms, the biological clock that makes sure you wake up fresh in the morning and drift off at the right time in the evening.

Artificial blue light is similar to natural blue light, but is many times stronger. Nowadays we come into contact with this form of artificial light a lot. In our daily lives we are surrounded by screens, such as your laptop, smartphone, tablet or television. Even the headlights of modern cars use blue light.

The effects of blue light

On average, we spend about 10 hours a day looking at a screen. According to researchers from the RIVM and the Amsterdam Medical Centre, this has a major impact. If you spend too much time looking at a digital screen, and therefore absorb too much blue light, it can have a big impact on your health. The most common problems are disturbed biorhythms, difficulty concentrating and tired eyes. How does that work exactly?

Disturbed biorhythms
You’ve probably heard before that you should limit screen use before you go to bed. Blue light, especially in the evening, disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. If your body makes less melatonin, you sleep less deeply. And good sleep is hugely important for your health.

Diminished concentration   
The lack of sleep associated with too much blue light also affects your performance during the day. Someone who sleeps badly will have diminished concentration and suffer more stress. In the long term this can even lead to depression.

Dry or tired eyes
Staring at a screen is like looking into a lamp. This will bother your eyes after a while. Prolonged exposure to blue light can therefore lead to symptoms such as tired eyes, dry eyes, burning eyes and blurred vision.

Reducing blue light

Too much blue light is therefore generally bad. So how can you limit its use? Here are some tips: 

Adjust your screen settings
Switch on night mode on your electronic devices, such as your phone and laptop, at a set time. This mode reduces the amount of blue light emitted by the screens.

Limit screen time
Try to limit your screen time, especially before going to sleep. Read a good book or listen to a podcast with your eyes closed. Avoid using digital devices at least an hour before bedtime to improve your sleep.

Wear glasses with a blue light filter
Consider wearing (monitor) glasses with a built-in blue light filter, with or without prescription. This reduces the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes when you look at digital screens. Scientists do not yet agree on whether it works, but wearing them cannot do any harm.

Be careful with LED 
LED lighting has a greater proportion of blue light than old-fashioned light sources such as incandescent bulbs. If you have LED bulbs in your home, choose variants where you can adjust the colour yourself – this reduces the amount of blue light emitted in your home. Some scientists even claim that all (bright) light is unhealthy. Dimming the lights in the evening is therefore a good idea. This allows your eyes to settle.

Blue light affects your health a lot, often without you realising it. It’s great that with the tips listed above, you can easily reduce exposure to this form of artificial light. See for yourself!

How financially fit are you?
Besides a healthy life, you want a healthy pension. By staying aware of the pension market and react to it in a flexible way, we keep your pension in top condition. Do you already have a pension scheme with BeFrank? Then you can see how your pension is doing on your Personal Pension page. Here you will also find the most important updates. Do you not have a pension scheme with BeFrank yet? Ask your employer about the possibilities.