Be aware of the “Blue Light” – What you need to know about the risks of “Blue Light” in a residential environment.

It’s understandable that people outside of the lighting industry are not interested in lighting, but the prevailing mindset is that one light fitting is much the same as another. It’s just an LED, right? This cannot be any further from the truth. The market system works, you do get what you pay for, and unfortunately it is a “buyer beware” market. There are many things you should know which set a quality LED apart from an inferior one. Today, I’d like to shed some light on the “blue light” issue (no pun intended).

What is blue light and what risk does it pose?

It’s very simple: excessive exposure to blue light at an inappropriate time can pose a risk to your long term health.

It has only recently been discovered that our eyes have a third receptor, that detects blue light through your eyelids and kickstarts your bodies morning routine. Effectively, blue light wakes you up and makes you hungry. This is fine in the morning and during the day. However, the problem is that, when you are home in the evening, you are using your LED lights when your body should be winding down, not winding up.

Excess exposure to blue light can often lead to difficulty sleeping and/or lower quality sleep. Scientific research by Harvard University has concluded that exposure to blue light negatively affects sleep, circadian timing …. and sleep deprivation leads to poor health, poor eating habits and over a long period of time, results in increased chance of medical conditions ranging from basic obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.  Type 2 diabetes has been demonstrated to increase incidence of cancer.

Now you are worried. What can you do about it?

There is a very simple way to avoid LEDs with too much blue light, and that is to select LEDs with higher Colour Rendering Index (CRI) , for example CRI 90+. The majority of LED lights targeted at domestic homes are only CRI 80, and due to some technical shortcuts, many are even lower. General CRI only uses 50% of the 15 colours, the pastel colours specifically, ignoring the strong primary colours (blue, yellow & red). While it doesn’t guarantee that your light is a true CRI90, the increased colour uniformity guarantees that excessive blue has been reduced.

LEDs with CRI 90+ have proportionally increased red light, called R9, with proportionally reduced blue light, and that makes everything looks more natural. You will be unconsciously more relaxed, will sleep better, and likely be less hungry.

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