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So you love your smartphone? Yep, we’re almost all guilty! These pocket sized devices have become essential to our lives, from the fun we have on social media, to all the wonderful apps that can help you do things like observe and track your menstrual cycle. (my favourite FREE app is m.cycles – on Apple devices) I’m sure, like me, you’re hearing more about the light that our screens are emitting that isn’t doing us any good. So I’m here to share what that blue light from our devices is doing to our hormonal health and how we can develop better relationships with our screens.
Because it’s what you do consistently that counts most.
So these blue light waves you keep hearing about – what are they you ask? Natural light is made up of a spectrum, which if you recall from primary school comes in the colours we see in the rainbow. While the science of light is a complex area of physics (I’ll leave that for the smarty pants amongst us), in very basic terms, the healthy light that we encounter, such as from the sun, comes from the longer light waves at the green to red end of the spectrum. The light our phones, TVs and tablets put out comes from the violet to blue end, and is comprised of shorter waves. Off the far end of the light scale you’ll be familiar with ultraviolet light. It’s the one we’re warned against when looking at sun protection especially if you’re down-under in the hot Aussie climate.
The longer waves of light that hit us first thing in the morning when the sun wakes us up are important for our hormonal health – they signal to our brains to reduce the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and give us a jolt of cortisol to help wake us up. In the days before fancy electronic devices, our access to natural light waves significantly reduced as the sun went down, so our bodies then knew to reverse the early morning hormonal patterns by reducing our cortisol and increasing melatonin, making us sleepy (I talked more about melatonin in this piece from my Healthy Hormone Series late last year).
The ends of our days in 2018 look vastly different. We cook and eat under electric lights, we chill out with the next must-watch bingeable show on Netflix, and check our Instagram notifications right before we fall asleep (yep, I’m guilty of this too!). While there are lots of great reasons to be using our devices later at night, including work, checking in with our families or checking up on our kids, you may have begun to notice the effects of messing with your hormones. Symptoms like headaches, sore or dry eyes and disrupted sleep are common with late night blue light device users, but as with anything that goes in to our precious bodies, it can be more complicated that the initial symptoms. Prolonged exposure can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms, affecting every bodily system, even your ability to lose weight.(1)
For us ladies, the disruption to our circadian rhythms and our sleep has a secondary effect on our reproductive system. The ongoing effect of disrupted sleep can increase your stress hormone, cortisol. While cortisol is a very useful hormone for our bodies in many ways, when it becomes unchecked, it can have a range of negative effects including disrupting the production of other hormones, including the ones that manage ovulation & pms. I talk about the relationshp between our cycle hormones and cortisol before, and you can get even more of an in-depth understanding through my Debunking Stress Masterclass.
While blue light emitting screens are everywhere, that doesn’t mean we’re powerless! There are a handful of approaches we can take to reducing our expose to blue light, making our sleep routine and bodies healthier and happier. The easiest option is to pop your phone away and turn off the TV 30-60 minutes before going to bed. Deceptively simple, right? If you feel the need to wind down with something entertaining or informative, pick up a hard copy book rather than your Kindle (Well and Good would be a great place to start, right?!). Of course, sometimes, we do need to be in front of our screens a bit later into the evening than we’d like. I know I do – as I’m writing my next book, I’m finding there are a few late nights, reading and typing away for hours on end! Many devices these days also come with the ability to adjust light emitting settings, so the brightness is turned right down.
If constantly adjusting your settings sounds like something you may forget to do every day, I’d take a look at my new favourite glasses from Baxter Blue. These non-prescription glasses filter out the blue light from our screens and eliminate glare, helping you sleep better and reduce eye soreness. On top of that, they are the best looking blue light reducing glasses I’ve ever seen – they’re not orange so no Bono look alike effect! I’ve been using them for several months, and in that time I’ve noticed I’ve been able to fall asleep without a worry and my eyes definitely are less strained. If all of that wasn’t enough, Baxter Blue donate a pair of reading glasses for every pair sold through their partnership with RestoreVision. On top of saving your own health, you’ll be helping someone else. I just love this.
So I’ve got your back. I’m very excited to announce the relationship I now have with Baxter Blue as their brand ambassador. As you’re aware, there is no chance of me putting my name to something I don’t believe in. You’re going to LOVE Baxter Blue, what they stand for and best of all, their products speak for themselves.
USE THE CODE ‘NATLOVES’ AT CHECKOUT TO SCORE FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING.