Can Blue Light Glasses Help You Sleep Better?

Can Blue Light Glasses Help You Sleep Better?

Here’s the thing: I’m going into this personal study as a steadfast blue-light glasses naysayer. I think they’re a load of hooey. I don’t believe they’ll help me sleep, and I don’t think for one second they’re going to alleviate the eye strain I get from staring at a computer screen 8-10 hours a day!

So you know where I’m coming from, I am a glasses wearer, and have been since I was 11 years old. As a bespectacled person who has had access to both very good and very bad vision insurance over the past 20 years, I’ve had varying types of “fancy” lenses. I’ve had Transitions lenses, ultra light-weight lenses, lenses that are supposed to make it so your glasses don’t smudge, anti-glare lenses, scratch-resistant lenses, polarized lenses for sunglasses, etc. I’ve also had simple single-vision lenses with absolutely no bells and whistles. And I’ve always had the same experience: my lenses are very nice until I inevitably drop them or forget to put them in their case (you know, as humans do).

The only “upgraded” lenses I’ve had that were worth the cost were polarized and
Transitions, simply because I could actually visually see the difference. None of the fancy coatings or cool technologies did anything for my simple, clear lenses. And this is because they tend to be coatings and coatings wear off. And blue light blocking lenses are no different. It’s a coating, baby, and, as such, destined to wear off.

With the knowledge that the actual blue light blocking layer of these glasses will wear off, I will admit the technology of the coating interests me. And while blue light blocking lenses hit the market before there was any real research to back up the supposed benefits of blocking out blue light from our eyes, there is some new research that says wearing these glasses will help with sleep issues related to screen exposure.

What the studies say

One small study found that participants who wore blue light glasses fell asleep faster and slept better. Falling asleep is very hard for me to do, even when I’m exhausted, so this alone piqued my interest. Another small study found that participants who historically had trouble sleeping slept better after using blue light glasses. Again, this resonates with me. This all has to do with the idea that artificial light messes with our body’s ability to produce melatonin, a.k.a. the sleep hormone. So it does make sense that blocking out artificial light (blue light) would make a difference.

As far as claims that blue light blocking glasses help with eye strain, sorry Charlie, that just ain’t true. There’s no evidence for this whatsoever. In fact, optometrists explain that eye strain is because we tend not to blink enough while looking at screens, and no type of wearable will help with that!

I know I’m not likely to experience any eye health improvements, but I’m still curious about whether or not blue light blocking glasses will help me with my sleep issues. My very informal seven-day experiment starts, well, now!

Day 1

The glasses smudge very easily and feel a little weird on my face since they’re not adjusted properly, but wearing them is fine. I go to bed at my regular time feeling excited! But the blue-light-blocking magic hasn’t yet set in and I take my usual 45 minutes to fall asleep.

Day 2

Wearing the glasses during the day is silly but fine. Nighttime comes around, then bedtime, and, again, there’s no difference in my sleep.

Day 3

Uneventful glasses day, although I will say that these smudge so easily; I’m constantly cleaning them. I actually fall asleep faster than normal tonight. Could it be the blue light blockers?! Or could it be my 5 mile hike…

Day 4

Starting to get annoyed with the smudginess. It’s ridiculous. I feel like I’m wearing the sample glasses at the glasses store. I do fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer than I normally would. Two nights in a row for me is kind of impressive.

Day 5

I started my day late, and the blue light glasses made me feel like I was living in a dream. There’s just something about non-prescription glasses with lenses that’s weird to me. I spend a lot of time at my computer today. I go to bed slightly later than usual but end up falling asleep pretty fast!

Day 6

I’m sick of wearing these glasses. They’re too big and don’t fit my face and the lenses themselves are crap. I go to bed stressed out, so I have a very hard time falling asleep.

Day 7

Seven days isn’t enough for me to make a decision about my blue light glasses. That being said, I’m due for a new pair of regular prescription glasses, and I did pay the extra $30 to add the blue light blocking coating.

So what are my final thoughts?

Although I can’t be sure about the blue light glasses contributing to my better sleep, I’m curious enough to keep the experiment going indefinitely. I need new glasses anyway, so I’ve decided to spend the extra $30 on the blue light blocking coating. The way I see it, the worst that could happen is I’m out thirty bucks, which is fine with me.

With that said, I don’t know if I would be able to suggest blue light blocking glasses to non-glasses wearers, as the poor fit and general smudging could just increase eye strain. If you don’t wear prescription glasses and are interested in trying blue light blockers, I suggest you spend a little extra money on glasses that fit your face and have good lenses. It’s not worth it otherwise.