I’ve written about f.lux and how it changes the light coming from your computer monitor, but what about the rest of the lights in your house? At PaleoFX, there was a mention of using blue blocking glasses, or “blue blockers,” to help maintain a more natural circadian rhythm. I had heard of these specialty glasses before, but decided to order them when I got back from the conference to actually do an n=1 experiment.
I searched on Amazon for “SCT Orange” since this is the type of lens that you want. It is a specialty lens that blocks light with a wavelength of up to 540nm which includes violet, blue, and some green wavelengths. Why is this important? Because light helps your body determine when it is day and when it is night. If your eye sees light of the short wavelength variety (blue), it will perceive it to be daytime and suppress melatonin production. As you probably know, melatonin is a hormone that kicks in before and during sleep. To put it simply, the lights you have on after sundown messes with your sleep cycle. If you’ve ever gone camping or had the power go out, you know that without electricity, you get sleepy VERY fast once the sun goes down.
The glasses I found on Amazon are Uvex SCT Orange anti fog glasses. I spent a whopping $8.34 on them. Although they don’t fit incredibly well (the nose piece is too wide and they slip down my face) I can’t complain for $8. Also, they do have adjustable ear pieces, so tightening those up helped a good deal.
The first day I got them, I put them on when the sun was going down and went about my business around the house. About 30 minutes in, I felt my head pulsing about 2 inches behind my forehead and I felt myself get very sleepy. Not coincidentally, melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, located in the the middle of the brain about 2-4 inches behind the forehead! (Side note: this is the same feeling I have whenever I am about to fly. No matter what time of day or night, I feel it in my head and I get very sleepy. Without knowing for sure, I would say this is my body producing melatonin because it knows it’s going on a trip!) Besides getting sleepy, I had to get used to everything having an orange tint!
I won’t lie and say I felt incredibly refreshed when I awoke, but that’s probably because I fought feeling sleepy and stayed up until my normal sleep time. I won’t think it’s the end of the world if I don’t wear the glasses, but I will wear them whenever I have the chance. For those who have a hard time going to sleep, you may want to check them out. (if your roommate/significant other can handle it) Click the link below to get yourself a pair!