Blue light blockers have always seemed gimmicky to me. My logic? If you want to sleep better, do the basics. Don’t watch TV before bed, eat dinner at a reasonable hour; don’t drink a triple espresso at 6pm.
Any product that claims it can make up for your poor sleep hygiene, is probably a scam, I thought.
In my mind, blue light blockers sat on the same shelf as skin creams – an industry gas-lighting us into buying something we don’t need (and getting us dependant on it in the process), and exploiting our insecurities.
However, I’m also an individual living in the 21st century. I have podcasts to listen to, alarms to set, TV-shows to binge. I’ve also got inane group chat messages to read, YouTube wormholes to burrow into and TikToks to watch.
So after a particularly bad couple of weeks’ sleep, and a couple of nights where I was so tired I couldn’t even sleep (I blame this on the Euros), I decided to take the plunge. I bought a pair of glasses (blue light blockers) that block the blue light emitted from light bulbs and electronic devices which apparently stops our brains from realising it’s time to go to sleep.
I channelled my inner Dave Asprey, hammered in my credit card details, and two days later they arrived in the post. I’ve been wearing them every night for a week now for an hour before bed. This is everything I’ve learned in that time.
They are an admission of defeat… but that doesn’t make them a bad idea
Yes: you should be able to sleep well without buying blue light blockers. Yes: other things, like having a consistent sleep schedule, are more important. Yes: you should turn off technology an hour before bed rather than keeping it on but avoiding its blue light. Yes: your ancestors did just fine without blue light glasses.
But if you have tried and failed to fix these things, Blue Light Blockers are better than nothing, I have found. And it could easily be the placebo effect, but I have definitely slept a little bit better this week.
Also: even if you are diligent about shutting down all your devices an hour before bed, you will still inevitably be exposed to blue light when you go to the bathroom, or to get a glass of water, so they really do (to me) feel like they make a nice (little) difference. This may wear off though eventually.
They are more effective than the ‘blue light’ setting on your phone
Some phones have special night modes which stop them from emitting blue light after a certain time at night. I don’t find this helpful though, as I tend to go to bed at different times on different days. And as I mentioned: I typically go downstairs to make a cup of tea or brush my teeth within an hour of going to bed anyway, so I found blue light blockers the simplest way of blocking the blue light. They are also a welcome way to prevent the harsh glare of light when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
They provide a nice sense of finality to the day
Placebo effect or not, it’s nice to have a little ritual.
They can improve your creativity
Mad professor ~vibes~ may not be a scientific thing to judge… but I certainly feel them when I put my glasses on.
It’s not as enjoyable to watch TV with them on…but you’ll thank yourself later
It’s also not the most comfortable thing to wear while reading. But again: it can be done.
They make you look like a bit of a tech bro…but that’s ok
Don’t worry: you’re at home. No one can judge you.
I would recommend them to anyone at their wit’s end…with the proviso they are far from a complete solution
I really enjoy using them and I will continue to do so. They aren’t going to radically improve your sleep but they could help. I have no idea if it’s due to the placebo effect or not, but to be honest I don’t care. I’m just happy to be sleeping a little bit sounder.