The complex properties of light and the health-enhancing nature from the hormone melatonin form the foundation of LowBlueLights’ efforts to improve sleep and overall health.
Consider the pertinent properties of light. As with every other living organism on the earth, our most vital light comes from the sun. One of its most important properties is evident when a beam of sunlight passes through a glass prism or when a rainbow appears in the sky following a rainstorm. Both clearly show what is perceived as white light is actually a superposition of many different visible colors. Scientifically speaking, this so-called white light has a wide range of wavelengths ranging from violet to blue to green to yellow to orange and to red. It has a continuous spectrum of wavelengths extending from slightly below 400 to 750 nanometers. A similar type of color structure is evident when a beam of light from a household incandescent lamp passes through a prism resulting in a rainbow of colors ranging continuously from blue to red. LowBlueLights’ efforts to improve sleep and health focuses on these wavelengths of blue light, primarily nighttime blue light from household bulbs and other artificial light sources and its proven detrimental effects.
Consider next the pertinent properties of hormone melatonin and how it is affected by blue light. This so-called sleep hormone often referred to as the “hormone of darkness” not only improves one’s sleep but it’s also the body’s strongest cancer-fighting antioxidant with many other health-enhancing properties. Melatonin is produced in the body mainly by the pineal gland located near the base of the brain. Researchers have known for years that melatonin produced by the pineal gland is suppressed when the eyes are exposed to light. It’s also well known that as long as the eyes are continuously in darkness, melatonin production time is limited to approximately twelve hours during a 24-hour day. This is true even for individuals totally blind whose eyes are effectively in darkness. It seems quite obvious that the 12-hour daily melatonin production time follows directly from the fact that humans evolved under twelve hours of light from the sun followed by twelve hours of darkness each day.
What’s important for the present discussion however is that the timespan living under darkness humans in developed countries has been greatly reduced by the invention of Thomas Edison’s electric lamp in the late 19th century. An improbable consequence from this great invention is that the pineal gland’s melatonin production time has been substantially lessened and is no longer at its maximum capability. This has led a number of medical researchers to propose that this is one cause for the substantially higher rates of breast cancer and other cancers in developed countries than in third world countries where the use of electric lighting is much less prevalent. Even as this is slowly becoming known amongst the medical community and even slower amongst the general public, there is little chance people will give up electric lighting and return to twelve hours of darkness to maximize their melatonin production.
Fortunately, a discovery by medical researchers in 2001 made it simple for humans to return to twelve hours of melatonin production with little change in life style. Two research groups, one in the US and the other in the UK, simultaneously showed that it’s mainly blue light that suppresses melatonin production by the pineal gland. After learning of this and of the cancer-fighting properties of melatonin, three lighting research and development specialists founded LowBlueLights.com. The three physicists then set out to develop lamps that emit no blue light but only light from the remaining colors of the rainbow. They soon realized people were not going to change all the lamps in their homes even though it might improve their health. At the same time, they learned that researchers in Canada had shown that wearing goggles at night that blocked blue light allowed users to function normally by utilizing the remaining light as their pineal gland produced melatonin as though they were in complete darkness. With this knowledge the founders of LBL designed a unique line of eyewear that incorporated lenses with exactly the same optical properties as the blue light blocking goggles from these studies. In 2005, this accomplished group began marketing their Sleep Glasses together with 100% blue-free household lamps and screen filters manufactured and available through their new e-commerce website. The primary goals of this website is to (a) inform people of the sleep and health-enhancing properties of melatonin, (b) that the use of ordinary artificial light sources in the evening substantially reduces their production of melatonin, and (c), that by simply using LowBlueLights’ products that prevent exposure to blue light for several hours before going to bed can increase their melatonin production time to twelve hours. LBL products are designed so users set the time their eyes are shielded from blue light in the evening combined with the time spent in bed in complete darkness to equal approximately twelve hours.
Recent developments in lighting technology have made it even more important to use LBL products in the above-described manner. This is because light-emitting diodes or LED light sources are commonly being used in new household-type lamps and in the screens of televisions, computers and the ubiquitous handheld, multimedia devices. These tend to emit much higher intensity, melatonin-suppressing blue light than the older incandescent, hot filament-type lamp sources being phased out by US Department of Energy. LowBlueLights is now producing our own LED bulbs that emit no melatonin-suppressing blue light as well as blue light-blocking filters for the countless LED illuminated devices on the market today.
Again, our aim is to acquaint people with the vast sleep and health-enhancing properties of melatonin and to maximize its production by providing unique products that prevent blue light from entering the eyes during the evening in the hours leading to bedtime.