Sleep Starts When You’re Awake: The Science of Sleephacking

Recent studies have shown that over-exposure to artificial light at the wrong time of day can have negative effects on your sleep and, in turn, your mental and physical performance. Light is the most potent cue our bodies use to synchronize biological activity, including when to wake up and when to sleep. In today’s world, with hours spent in front of  electronics  and in harsh overhead light environments, daytime is artificially extended impacting our neurotransmitters and hormones that are responsible for quality sleep.

Your Eyes: The Messenger to the Brain

Our circadian rhythm dictates our sleep/ wake cycle which begins when the sun comes up, sending a full spectrum of light wavelengths to our eyes who in turn sends signals to our brain to let it know if it’s getting lighter or darker outside. Blue, green and violet light are what our eyes are most sensitive to and what our brains use to regulate our sleep/wake cycle.

This sleep/wake cycle  takes time to start up and slow down; much like a starting or stopping a train. When the brain receives sleep or wake signals from the eyes, it needs time to increase or suppress hormones and biological activity to make us more alert and ready to be active or calm and drowsy and ready for sleep.

When Our Eyes Detect More Blue Light

Our brain to starts our “wake” phase, suppressing melatonin and signals the body to:

  • Increase hunger hormone Leptin
  • Increase body temperature
  • Raise blood pressure
  • Increase urine output

When Our Eyes Detect Less Blue Light

Our brain to starts our “sleep” phase, increasing melatonin and signals the body to:

  • Decrease hunger hormone Leptin
  • Decrease body temperature
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease urine output

Junk Light: The Dark Side of Blue Light

While we get natural and necessary levels of blue light from the sun, artificial light sources bombard us high levels of blue light day and night. This overexposure to blue light, what we term junk light, disrupts our circadian rhythm and depresses our melatonin production, the body’s main sleep hormone.

Newer artificial light bulbs eliminate most of the infrared, red, and violet light found in natural sunlight – which in moderation is beneficial to our health – but amplify the blue light.

Light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light — and blue light affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/)

Computer smartphone, and eReader screens, designed for up-close use, bombard your eyes, brain and body with waves of artificial light usually at a contrast designed for clear visibility without consideration for tone or color of the light itself.

The Science of Sleephacking

Overexposure to junk light is only half the picture to sleep health, new research shows that there is a second, more dominant and important system that is responsible for setting your circadian rhythm, sleep patterns and hormones. This system is based on a photopigment called melanopsin.

 

Unlike the standard rod and cone structure of the eye which helps us see, melanopsin doesn’t help us see. Instead, it reacts to light wavelengths and is the primary regulator of our biological clock and our production of melatonin. This photopigment in the eye is the reason that our bodies are so sensitive to blue light and why overexposure to “junk light” can so easily effect our sleep.

Melanopsin: The Key to Better Sleep

Melanopsin cells are the specific cells in your eyes that detect blue light and are responsible for sending signals to your brain about brightness and for the brain to increase or suppress the sleep hormone, melatonin.

When the melanopsin cells detect blue light it tells your brain that it is “daytime” and less melatonin is produced. Melanopsin cells can’t differentiate the blue light that occurs naturally form the sun from the junk light emitted from your computer monitor.

On the other hand, when it starts to get dark and melanopsin cells don’t detect blue light, it signals the brain that it’s “night” and to increase melatonin production. This helps you feel tired, helping you sleep and helping your circadian rhythm stay in tune.

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 shiftwork 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.
  • Memory – Memory recall is impaired with consistent sleep deprivation and may leave you distracted and not performing your absolute best.
  • Headaches/Vision – 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 – Leptin is a master hormone and signals to our brains how much fat storage we have. Its levels peak at night. Leptin and ghrelin are the two main hunger hormones in our body. Both leptin and ghrelin are light sensitive.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 – Increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, due to circadian disruption.

Research also have found possible links to conditions that are caused or made worse by the lack of sleep or light at night such as: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), macular degeneration and other vision problems, cancer, aging, diabetes, stroke, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmunity and gastric conditions.

Harnesses Your Biology to Fight Junk Light

You may be thinking, “Great, I’ll just get some blueblockers, block the blue light, and problem solved”. Not, quite. Blue blockers do exactly what they say they do. They block all blue light, which is overkill. 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.

“I am highly satisfied with both…the Daywalkers help me relax, especially in fluorescent lighting. The Twilight pair also create a noticeable improvement in my sleep quality. I can feel my muscles relax, and it is easier to breathe deep when wearing them. I am impressed. I recommend both of these glasses.” – Eric Giboney – June 18, 2017

 

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.

 

 

 

TrueDark® Daywalker glasses help filter the overabundance of junk light from artificial light sources when you are indoors, working on computers, watching TV, or anywhere else junk light is impacting your performance. Some blue light during the day is good for you, and TrueDark® Daywalkers will help you find the right balance of blue light exposure from artificial light sources. TrueDark® Daywalker tones down the amount of the blue wavelengths that negatively impact your biology and help:

  • Block the harshest blue light wavelengths emitted by LEDs, electronics, phones, tablets and computers.
  • Reduce daytime eye strain
  • Improve overall sleep
  • Synchronize your circadian rhythm

 

Use TrueDark® Twilights When You’re Ready for Sleep

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. Patented 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.

 

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

  • Block the harshest blue, violet and green sleep robbing wavelengths emitted by fluorescent lights, LEDs, electronics, phones, tablets and computers.
  • Support your evening and nighttime hormone levels
  • Improve overall sleep
  • Synchronize your circadian rhythm