While this article could've easily addressed the havoc wreaked on most animals (hibernating, migrating, reproducing, etc.) or even many plants by artificial light, the focus is on humans.
Functions of the light to the eye:
- visual: to see stuff
- non-visual: pupil dilation and circadian entrainment (melanopsin)
Melanopsin: the light-responsive pigment in your eyes. It responds to blue/green light peaking around 480 nM (thus Spectra479's). LED peaks around 460 nM, but the 479's are designed to prevent light-induced melatonin suppression, not LED's peak.
There are considerable physiological effects of 480 nM light. We gotta get rid of LEDs and tune out the blue light of electronic devices.
Misalignment of circadian rhythmicity is observed in numerous conditions including aging, depression, diabetes, dementia, hypertension, obesity, and cancer.
Humans (and many other lifeforms) exhibit circadian rhythms in physiology, metabolism, and behavior that are essential to maintain homeostasis in synchrony for 24 hours a day.
A basic glimpse into how messed up this can get is to look at rotating shift workers: increased risk for psychiatric disorders, gastrointestinal alterations, sleep and cognitive impairments, and cancer.
Sustenance of robust circadian rhythmicity is a potent non-pharmacological approach to sustain healthy aging and hence reduce the global healthcare burden.
Disclaimer: having conducted many of the studies myself, time-restricted feeding and altered lighting experiments in rodents are somewhat bollixed.
Understanding melanopsin has allowed us to recognize the considerable physiological effects of blue light, which is increasingly important in modern society. Advancements in lighting technology has improved human productivity, education, and industries... but at what cost?
Remember: LED peaks at 460 but melanopsin absorption peaks at 480, which is why it's important to block blue AND some green.
The bright side? Proper timed light exposure can be therapeutic in the treatment of some types of depression and circadian sleep disorder.
The dark side? People are letting infants and small children play on smart devices all day and even at night. It's worse in this case because starting at such a young age, they're gonna have a much higher total lifetime exposure. AND they're more sensitive to blue light than adults (predominantly because eyesight declines with age).
Turn off the blue light in your devices and wear blue blockers at night. Try to limit screen time for your kids, especially at night because this can induce circadian phase delay, melatonin suppression, and impaired cognitive performance the subsequent morning.
That's all for now!
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