Resources: Blue light blockers and bright lights

I’ve written in other posts about the sleep problems that evening exposure to blue wavelengths from electronic devices can cause, or the benefits of bright lights for mood. Here’s where you can find the items I often suggest to patients.

(Please note that this is not intended as medical advice; check with your own healthcare provider, and read this disclaimer. Also note that I don’t receive anything from any of these vendors, nor from any purchases.)

Blue-light blockers:

More and more electronic devices (or apps) have modes that advertise blocking or reducing the amount of blue light you’re exposed to. However, their actual ability to block blue wavelength is sometimes minimal or questionable. Instead, here are some products I’ve found helpful.

  • Blue-blocking screen filters. These are pricey for little pieces of vinyl film. But they’re the only ones I’ve found that don’t crease/wrinkle, and that actually block blue light. They last indefinitely (I’ve had mine for three years, and I use them every night). Blue light filters for screens.

Therapeutic bright lights:

There’s a wide variety of lights claiming to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and/or just plain old “winter blues.” The brand I’ve always suggested to my patients is The Sunbox Company, the original bright light box company. Their 10,000-lux lights are based on the most solid research on the appropriate wavelength, brightness, safety, and effectiveness. (Read more about the Sunbox Company‘s origins.)

In terms of which unit to consider, I’ve found most people do well with the SunSation version (desktop). It’s the most convenient and effective for the price. Be sure to follow the instructions for how close to sit, timing and duration of sessions, and how often to replace the bulb. (The bulbs fade after a few years, depending on how much you use them).

The Sunbox Company also sells a visor you can wear (made by another company), which can be more convenient than sitting in front of a lightbox. However, patients of mine have had mixed results with it. The available research on the bulbs/intensity in visors isn’t as strong as for the 10,000 lux boxes – but that research also hasn’t been updated since the advent of stronger LED bulbs. I’ve personally used it with good results with the visor sold by Sunbox, as have some patients.