3 Lighting Hacks to Help Avoid Eyestrain and Headaches

One of the most important but often overlooked area when setting up your work set up is lighting.   In fact, did you know that good lighting helps you keep eyestrain and headaches at bay, can help you be more productive, improve your mood and even help you sleep better?

Here are some helpful tips and resources to help “shine the light” on best options.

Hack #1: Lighten Up

What’s the Problem?

If your work area is too dark, then you are likely straining to see. And this can lead to eye strain and headaches, sluggish thinking and even the blues.

What to Do.

  • You can try brightening up overhead lighting with higher watt light bulbs.  Floor lamps also do wonders to add light to the room.
  • If you need more immediate light on your desktop, consider an LED Task Lamp.  They are energy efficient, last a long time and can literally brighten your world.
  • Try adjusting the contrast on your monitor and see if that makes a difference.

Hack #2: Get Some Shades

What’s the Problem?

If your work area is too bright, you will find yourself squinting, straining and you will very likely experience eye fatigue and possibly headaches.

What to Do.

  • Make sure you don’t sit with a window directly in front of or behind you.  Best position is to sit perpendicular to the window.
  • If there are windows nearby, make sure there is a window covering (curtains, blinds, solar shades, etc.) – and use when needed.
  • If you can’t relocate, or the window coverings aren’t adequate, then you can look into things like Ikea’s Leaf Shade, or if you have a corner set up, this cool Cube Shield.   They look kind of crazy, but they get the job done.
  • If your lighting situation can’t be changed and you are struggling with glare on your monitor or laptop, you can try using a glare filter.  Often glare filters can also double as a privacy filter. Check out 3M’s Glare Filters for Monitors and 3M’s Glare Filters for Laptops

Hack #3: Protect Your Eyes & Your Sleep

What’s the Problem?

When you work, there are two types of lighting issues that you are exposed to.  Things on your desktop that reflect lighting (notebooks, to-do lists, reading materials, etc.) and screens that emit light like your monitor, phone and tablet.   The screen emit something called Blue Light which can cause strain to your eyes and disrupt your circadian rhythms that can leave you wide eyed and awake in the middle of the night.  (Read our post called The Dangers of Blue Light)

What to Do.

  • Reduce Screen Time. The obvious answer is to power down your screens and reduce your overall time looking at screens.  For most of us, this is difficult, but worthy of inspecting where and when we can power down.   We can, however, certainly take breaks during the day and give our eyes a rest.  (Check out the 20/20/20 eye exercise below.)
  • Wear Protective Glasses.  There is now eyewear out there that have a blue light filter built into them.  Talk to your eye doctor about your options.
  • Install a Screen Filter.  For your computer, check out f.lux.com to download a filter that helps to reduce the blue light emanating from your screen.   On your phones and tablets there is a built in feature called Night Shift that filters out the blue light.  You can also search for apps that filter out blue light.
  • No Screens Before Bedtime.  Last but not least, get into the habit of putting away all screens about an hour before going to bed.  You will find yourself falling asleep more easily and getting a better night’s sleep.

Bonus Hack: Blink More

What’s the Problem?

Did you know that when we stare at our computer and screens, our blink rate gets cut in half?  This can cause dry eyes, eye strain and for some, blurred vision.

What to Do.

  • Reduce your time in front of your screens
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Try the 20/20/20 eye-break exercise below.

Until The Next Time!

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