Photo credit: Danielle Marks

Q & A: How Athletes Can Leverage Light To Get The Competitive Edge


When it comes to athletics, especially at the elite level, getting the competitive edge over your competition is key.  It’s also a lot more involved than just training; following a healthy diet, prioritizing sleep and properly healing the body (muscles and joints) in between competitions is absolutely necessary in preparation for competitions and achieving peak performance.  Here at TrueDark, we work with a number of individual athletes and professional sports teams to help them get better sleep and heal their bodies faster by empowering them to take more control of the light around them.  

Danielle Marks is a competitive triathlete herself, as well as a triathlon coach for the world renowned organisation Trisutto, and she has been thoroughly testing out TrueDark’s blue light blocking glasses and red light therapy devices as a part of her own training and healing routine.  We sat down with Danielle to discuss how blocking junk light and leveraging healthy light has helped her and her athletes maintain their sharp edge in competitions.

Q: Can you tell us more about the work you do? What’s a day in your life like?

A: I spend my days working at the Bentall Centre Athletic Club which is located in the core of downtown Vancouver, B.C. This is the first time in my life that I have been able to bike or walk to work from my home so I’ve really been enjoying the quick commute! I spend my work hours, in general, helping people feel better, move better, get faster and stronger with neurology drills that target their input to improve their output.  I also create programs that are tailored for specific individuals that want to train smarter — and not necessarily longer or harder – to help them achieve better results in their competitions.

Q: How often are you typically surrounded by junk light (or artificial blue light) while at work, at home, in the gym or other training/recreational settings?

A: Unfortunately, there are no windows in my office, so I am surrounded by more blue light more than I would like.  The lighting is a bit better at home since I use incandescent/infrared bulbs and am often using my TrueLight Energy Square that emits healthy red, near-infrared or yellow wavelengths of light.  If I had to guess, I would say that I’m exposed to blue light for approximately 15-18 hours per day, and during most of those hours I am wearing the TrueDark Daywalker blue light blocking glasses.

Q: When and why did you start wearing TrueDark blue light blocking glasses? How did you hear about them?

A: I started wearing TrueDark glasses about 6 months ago. I had these really old orange glasses that blocked out some blue light, but I wanted to find some that were more fashionable and acceptable to wear out in public.  I started searching around online for some alternative brands and styles to wear, and TrueDark came up with some of the best/most positively reviewed products.

Q: What do you notice when you wear blue light blocking glasses while exposed to junk light versus when you don’t wear the glasses? Do you feel different (e.g. more tired, more wired/awake)?

A: Oh my, where do I even start?! I feel so much better wearing blue light blocking glasses —  lessened headaches and migraines, more energy, faster recovery, better training, and deeper, quality sleep at night.  On the flip side, I really feel the difference when I don’t wear them.

Q: Can you speak to how blue light can affect athletes, especially those who are training for competitions?

A: When it comes to putting in anywhere from 10-25 hours per week of training, recovery is of the utmost importance. Watching television or looking at our phones at night stops the natural dose of melatonin being released in our systems, therefore making sleep harder to come by.  Also, Dr. Jack Kruse says that, “Chronic man-made blue light dehydrates cells because artificial blue light decreases the amount of water and CO2 a mitochondria makes. Blue light is a form of nnEMF and all nnEMF dehydrate our cells like a piece of steak being heated up in a microwave oven.”  Put simply, blue light really affects us at a cellular level. I try to get as much natural light as I can, especially before a competition.

Q: You’ve also had a chance to try out TrueLight by TrueDark — what do you think of it? What do you personally use it for?

A: I love the TrueLight Energy Square! When I over-do it with training, I place the device on my sore muscles to help them recover faster. I also use the yellow light on my face to get rid of any red spots and blemishes. I also love the pulsating mode that helps stimulate the cells and encourages faster growth and recovery.

Q: Can you speak to how red and yellow light therapy can affect athletes, especially those who are training for competitions?

A: The red light decreases my muscle soreness, creates more circulation, and increases my ATP production. It’s like going to sleep and waking up totally refreshed and ready to train hard. The yellow light is great for reducing red blemishes and also reduces any swelling I experience while traveling in airplanes to race events.

Q: Have you recommended TrueLight or TrueDark to the athletes that you train? If yes, have any of your athletes seen results (better sleep, faster recovery)? Would love to hear any feedback on our products for you and/or the athletes that you work with!

A: Yes absolutely. My athletes love both the TrueLight Energy Square and the blue light blocking glasses. Most of them have full-time desk jobs so they spend multiple hours staring at a blue-lit screens. When they wear the glasses they notably have less eye strain and headaches throughout the day, and they’ve expressed that they feel more refreshed for their workouts at the end of their work day. I recommend TrueDark products quite frequently as most people have office jobs and suffer from the same symptoms as my athletes. TrueDark products are great for any and everyone that is frequently exposed to artificial lighting!

Junk Light, Disrupted Sleep, and Your Health

Exposure melatonin disrupting junk light can have have effects on many aspects of your health

Sleep cycle disruption

Junk light exposure when traveling can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Long-term exposure to light at night which accompanies shift work is listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Light at night has shown to be highly associated with significantly the risk of hormone specific such as cancers of the breast and prostate.


The flickering wavelength of light associated with LEDs and compact fluorescent lights emit blue light that inhibits melatonin production but also create a unique glare that impacts your retina causing eye strain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue.

Weight Gain

Red light and darkness move leptin and ghrelin into patterns that are (context dependent) associated with less hunger, while blue light does the opposite and can move both into patterns associated with more hunger.

Anxiety/Depression & Depression

Increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, due to circadian disruption. Memory recall is impaired with consistent sleep deprivation and may leave you distracted and not performing your absolute best.

The Importance of Melanopsin Cells

The Key to Better Sleep

detects blue light

The melanopsin cells detect blue light it tells your brain that it is “daytime” and less melatonin is produced.

sending signals to your brain

The signals to your brain to alert brightness and for the brain to increase or suppress the sleep hormone, melatonin.

Light Source

Melanopsin cells can’t differentiate the blue light that occurs naturally form the sun from the junk light emitted from your computer monitor.

Start Optimizing Your Life

Harness Your Biology to Fight Junk Light

Your body requires some blue light at the right time of day and from the right sources. That’s why we created TrueDark® Sleep Technology that gives you 24-protection from junk light day and night.

Use TrueDark® Twilights When You’re Ready for Sleep

Stop Junk Light with TrueDark® Twilight technology that frees your hormones and neurotransmitters to do their best work.

When the sun goes down, blue light isn’t the only junk light that can disrupt our sleep cycle and more than blue blockers are needed. TrueDark® Twilight is the first and only solution that is designed to work with melanopsin, a protein in your eyes responsible for absorbing light and sending sleep/wake signals to your brain. Without melanopsin, melatonin can’t be accessed.

When you wear your Twilights for as little as 30 min before bed you prevent your melanopsin from detecting the wrong wavelengths of light at the wrong time of day. This supports  your circadian rhythm and helps you fall asleep faster and get more restorative and restful sleep.

glasses to help with computer eye strain computer glasses

TrueDark® Daywalkers for Your Waking Hours

The highly advanced lenses in TrueDark® Daywalkers operate on a more advanced level than traditional blue blockers.

Blue light emitted from the sun helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle. However, in today’s world, we’re exposed to an overabundance of blue light, or junk light from artificial light. This includes hours spent in front of  TVs, phones, and computers. It also includes time spent in artificial man made light with LEDs and fluorescent lights. Even if we’re simply reading a book, we’re doing that in artificial light which emit dramatically more blue light than the sun. That overexposure to junk light during the day has a dramatic impact on our neurotransmitters and hormones that are responsible for quality sleep.

The Only 24-hour Solution for Your Eyes

Increase Your Mental and Physical Performance

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