Hello dear friends!
Over the past month or so, I’ve been getting some of the best sleep I’ve had in years. For those of you who are familiar with my story, you know that insomnia has long been an issue for me, and I struggled for many years to find the right sleep hygiene and wind down routine that would allow me to get the rest I so desperately need, in order to function every day. Yes, my sleep quality tends to fluctuate over time, but lately, I really think I’m onto something.
I’ve written a lot of articles and blogs over the years about sleep and the importance of getting some solid zzz’s every night, including a piece for the special Go Paleo edition of Paleo Magazine. Especially for anyone who is healing from chronic illness, restorative rest is critical. I believe that sleep is the foundation for overall health, which is why it’s one of the cornerstones of my health coaching practice. I don’t know about you, but when I sleep well, everything feels easier and brighter; my mood is improved, my appetite is under control, and my cognition and coordination are smooth and quick.
In a quest to find the best sleep possible, I’ve tried dozens, maybe even hundreds, of things. Nowadays, my nighttime routine is refined and effective. My room is dark, cool, and quiet. Warm showers, aromatherapy, and herbs/melatonin help me to relax.
But what do I think is a big factor in my ability to get some solid shut-eye? Limiting my blue light exposure!
You’ve probably heard about the dangers of too much screen time, particularly before bed. This is mostly due to the physiological changes that this type of light causes in your brain. Exposure to the blue part of the light spectrum causes us to become more alert; it halts the production of melatonin. You’ll notice that the sky has a bluer tint in the mornings, as opposed to a more orange/red tint in the evenings. Our bodies naturally respond to the amount and wavelength of light in our environment, by altering the release of certain neurochemicals and hormones. This keeps us tuned into our surroundings.
Artificial light sources, such as the LEDs in our computer and smartphone screens, are rich in the blue wavelengths of light. So, while it’s fine to look at these during the daytime, come dusk, they’re going to start messing with your melatonin production, which can seriously hamper your sleep. More research is coming out now about other detrimental effects of nighttime blue light exposure, including an increase in risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancers. Can I get a “no thanks!”?
So, for any of us living in the real world, where we’re constantly surrounded with screens and other artificial light sources, what are we supposed to do? How can we limit our blue light intake, and start sleeping like a baby again? Well, for a while there, I was relying on certain software programs and filters on my electronics, to shift their light output to a more orange/amber tint. But it didn’t seem to make much of a difference, to be honest. I realized just how many sources of blue light were around me: overhead lights at home, dashboard lights in my car, cabin lights in airplanes...the list goes on, and these don’t even include screens. Then the solution became apparent: instead of wasting time, energy, and money trying to change or block all these individual light sources, why not just filter them at the eye level? Brilliant!
Thankfully, a company called Swanwick Sleep has created just the thing: blue-blocking glasses. I know, I know- amber glasses and goggles have been on the market for many years. I even owned a pair way back when. But let’s be honest: most of them are cheaply made and/or make you look like a chemist. But not these bad boys.
Swanwick glasses, aka “Swannies,” are stylish, comfortable glasses that look like a regular glasses frame, just with amber lenses. You can get these in a variety of styles and colors, too! I first connected with this company at the Paleo f(x) conference, and was blown away by the quality of their products. Unlike the cheap, flimsy “blue blockers” I’d seen online, these things were top-notch. So, I reached out to the company, who kindly sent me a pair for review. Little did I know, these glasses would change my sleep dramatically.
For the last month or so, I’ve been donning my Swannies within an hour of sunset. Once the light fades from the sky, I know that my brain needs to start producing melatonin, sometimes hours before I end up going to bed. Just like I cut of my caffeine consumption at a certain time of day, turn down the lights, and listen to calming music in the evenings, I’ve come to think of my Swannies as an integral part of my daily self-care routine. Preparing for sleep starts way before your head ever hits the pillow!
It took me a few days to get used to wearing them, simply because I never wear glasses! That and, yes, everything around me was tinted orange. But it’s honestly way less annoying than you might think...especially when you’re waking up feeling refreshed every morning. I’ve worn these glasses everywhere: driving at night, my evening pottery class, playing the piano, running to the grocery store, even out to dinner a couple of times. Instead of the weird looks I was expecting, I got lots of compliments on my Swannies, and even got the opportunity to talk to a few people about sleep hygiene and the dangers of blue light! And that’s a big win for a health coach like me!
Currently, Swanwick Sleep offers a huge selection of blue-blocking glasses, even some awesome ones for kids! I have the classic style, in black, and I love them so much, I’m thinking about getting another pair in another style. They’ve got cat-eyes, aviators, wayfarers, and even specialty prescription lenses and ones that fit over your existing glasses. Plus, they’ve added some other goodies to their online store, like a sleep mask, magnesium spray, and an aromatherapy diffuser, so you can check all the boxes for a solid night’s rest.
Friends, you probably know by now that I only partner up with companies that I truly believe in. Trust me, I don’t say “yes” to just anyone! Swanwick, in my opinion, makes some of the best products on the market, and I’m happy to stand up and say so.
If you’re looking for an easy and stylish way to help your brain wind down naturally, and sleep soundly, then Swannies are one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
Is better health on your New Year’s resolution list? Go over and get yourself a pair of these babies. Seriously, peeps. Do it!
Here’s to deep, delicious sleep in 2018 and beyond!
And as always…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
** This post contains affiliate links, which help me continue my blogging. You can read more about those here. **