“And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can so I can
See the light that’s right before my eyes..”
Canadian singer Corey Hart was wise beyond his years with his 1984 classic hit ‘Sunglasses at Night.’ Even though our meanings and interpretations of the song are completely different. His, stemming from the air conditioner/ heating unit blowing onto his face whilst recording an album and mine, from sleep hacking my way to quality sleep and optimal health.
Just to be clear here I don’t literally wear sunglasses at night, rather I’m referring to what are called blue blocking glasses that have amber tinted lenses in them designed to block out the harmful spectrum of man made blue light emitting from our electronics, smartphones, tablets, televisions, computers and more. Being exposed to blue light (6500k) after sunset through the eye tricks the brain in thinking it’s still daylight, therefore must stay alert and awake, which leads to suppressed melatonin production (sleepy hormone) and a disrupted circadian rhythm (day night cycle). These lead to chronic sleep problems and eventually contribute to serious health conditions. If you follow me on social media you would have seen me wearing these somewhat dorky looking glasses in the past.
It really wasn’t until I got introduced to biohacking (the science of optimizing human performance through the methods of changing your internal and external environment to enhance the body and upgrade the brain) that I became increasingly interested in ways to improve my sleep for performance. I was learning from numerous respected health professionals how important quality sleep was/ is in literally every aspect of your life. I didn’t particularly think my sleep was that bad. I woke up to an alarm most days and would stumble my way to the kitchen in a semi-conscious state, which I considered to be normal at the time. So I started out first with a cheap pair of UVEX blue blocking glasses. Did I look like a safety officer about to inspect the electrical wiring in my home? Of course! Did I notice significant improvements in my sleep quality within the first 2 weeks? Abso-freakin-lutely! After copious trial and error of creating the first interchangeable pair of blue blockers, I believe I have succeeded with BARKLEY EYEWEAR, which coincidentally I have been wearing the prototypes of for the past couple of years and reaping the benefits. No more cheap plastic science goggles for me.
These days I naturally rise without an alarm almost in sync with the sun and almost every night have a high quality sleep that I track objectively and subjectively. I’m continually tweaking my sleep to get the most out of my performance for the day. The difference I see and feel from a few years ago is night and day.
If you are a skeptic about everything so far and think this is probably some placebo effect, or if you have already heard about the negative effects of chronic blue light exposure and have done nothing about it yet, then I challenge you to wear blue blockers every night from sunset for 2 weeks and share your experience below!
In an ideal world, we would all rise with the sun and only have candlelight lit houses in the evening with no electronic devices. This is the way we have evolved from millions of years of evolution with our inbuilt circadian rhythms, but unfortunately we have lost sight of that in this technologically advanced age and is simply not applicable to most.
There are numerous variables when it comes to improving sleep. Psychological, environmental, habits, hygiene, nutrition, supplementation. A great place to start though and is considered one of the most potent and effective is LIGHT.
- Getting outside first thing in the morning to get that morning sunlight into your eyes to naturally trigger the suppression of melatonin and increase the production of serotonin and cortisol. (works better than caffeine)
- Protecting your eyes from the blue light in the evening from sunset by wearing blue blocking glasses.
- Installing IRIS onto your computers and laptops to adjust colour temperature and manually enabling nightshift on your smartphones to the warmest settings.
These alone will have quite an impact on your sleep!