Unless you’ve been living under a rock these last few years, you know that too much screen time (i.e., blue light) can lead to strained eyes and headaches. But did you know that it can also affect your sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue light suppresses the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone), which disrupts your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm.
Interesting, but not exactly surprising. On those days when my eyes have been glued to the screen like some sort of weird Clockwork Orange reenactment, I definitely feel more wired and find it harder to fall asleep. But here’s the thing—like a lot of people, my job involves a lot of screen time, so it’s not like I can just quit it completely. The evening Netflix-watching and pre-bedtime Instagram scroll on the other hand? OK, yes, I should probably cut back. Orrr…I can keep living my life and invest in a pair of “sleep glasses” instead. I opted to test out the latter.
Here’s how they work: Starting at $95, Felix Gray’s sleep glasses are specially designed to filter out blue light and be worn in the evening before bedtime. And while they’re known as “blue blockers,” the lenses are actually tinted orange (although this isn’t noticeable when you’re looking at a screen). Available in a variety of stylish frames (I opted for the Nash glasses in whiskey tortoise), they claim to be “clinically proven to increase melatonin secretion.” This is based off a research report commissioned by Felix Gray and executed by YouGov, which found that participants who wore their lenses had an increase in melatonin levels and experienced less awakening during the night. (I’m not entirely sure about the merits of this study, but hey, I’ll try anything to get some more sleep.)
What happened: I wore my sleep glasses for a week, putting them on as soon as I came home. I then proceeded to go about my usual evening routine, which typically, and unfortunately, includes looking at my computer, TV and phone. And honestly, my eyes did feel less strained—a definite benefit. But more importantly, wearing the glasses made me realize exactly how much time I was spending after work staring at a screen—and it was kind of horrifying. The act of putting on glasses every time I was in front of a screen (I took them off for non-tech activities like making dinner) really made me pay attention to how much screen time I was clocking in, which was sometimes as much as three hours in one evening—that’s on top of the approximately eight hours I use screens at work. Welp.
But did it help me sleep? Kinda, sorta. In retrospect, this experiment was probably flawed. As someone who’s in her third trimester of pregnancy, a good night’s sleep just isn’t that easy to come by these days. But what I did notice is that I definitely felt less jittery in bed—possibly because of the glasses themselves or because wearing them made me less likely to mindlessly look at my phone before turning off the lights. Either way, I’ll definitely continue wearing my glasses in the evening—to protect my eyes when I am looking at a screen and deter me from doing it so often. And if you find yourself with tired eyes at the end of the night but you’re not actually tired, then these sleep glasses might be worth a shot.