Have you heard about blue light glasses? (They’re really blue light blockers.) Do you wear them? Do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about?
If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please press play below. Otherwise, keep on reading.
Let’s break it down together: whether you’re male or female, young or old, lean or fluffy, hormones run the show in your body. Even more than calories, hormones determine if we’re burning fat or storing it. They influence if we sleep, how deeply we sleep and how we feel when we wake. Hormones influence mood, focus, energy, hunger, cravings and so much more! (For more on this, you can download my free hormones & fat loss guide here.)
What in the world do hormones have to do with blue light glasses? We’re getting there. Hang with me. While you might be familiar with the impact of stress and food on your hormones, there is something that is having a significant impact on our hormones is often overlooked:
Your computer, cell phone, tablet and television emit a particular type of light – blue light – that supresses melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycles. It influences how easily you fall asleep, your ability to get into the deeper, restorative stages of sleep and how you feel when you wake up.
Do you ever feel wired but tired? Exhausted, but unable to fall asleep?
Do you feel like no matter how much sleep you get, you never feel rested?
I’m telling you: get some blue light glasses.
Research shows blue light from our computers, phones, and TVs can cause insomnia, migraines, and reduced productivity.
Here’s the thing though – I’ve had blue light blocking glasses for a couple years now and I was rarely wearing them. Though they’re easy to find on Amazon, most of them are flimsy, not well made and super ugly (yellow & orange tints, looking more like something you should wear when you’re operating heavy machinery). I wasn’t wearing them because they were ugly.
Fortunately, someone solved that problem. Last month, I met Natalie Rogers, founder of Klassy Network, and it turns out she noticed the same thing but she did something about it.
My Favorite Blue Light Glasses
Yes, people are spending more time than ever in front of their electronic devices. Their eyes are tired. They are tired. Sleep struggles are more prevalent than ever. Eye strain is rampant. And: blue light glasses are flimsy and ugly.
So, she created an alternative and I fell in love with it. I bought my first pair and the day they arrived, I loved them so much I bought a second pair. I wear them all day long. If I’m on my computer, looking at my phone or watching TV, I’m wearing my glasses.
I mean, how cute are these? Glasses are an amazing accessory and these ones serve a purpose AND look totally adorable!
Since I’ve been wearing them, I’ve noticed a few things:
Glasses are my fave accessory (had to throw that in there! They are SO cute!)
I have far less eye strain
I’m falling asleep more quickly at night (this is major for me)
I’m more focused when I’m working at my computer
I’ll leave you with this: I’m quite a minimalist. I don’t like gadgets and I’m pretty religious about only buying things I need. I’m not the girl who impulsively buys the latest and greatest stuff.
These glasses are worth it. Hormones run the show. They determine how we feel and they’re an interconnected network. If you’re influencing melatonin by constantly exposing yourself to blue light, you’re also influencing cortisol. When you’re influencing cortisol, you’re also influencing insulin. The ripple effect is significant.
Coming from a minimalist, I highly recommend these glasses (use the coupon code “primal” if you snag some) if you’re someone who spends your day looking at your phone, computer or tablet (or if you’re someone who likes to unwind with television at night).
Spoiler to my family: these will be birthday gifts coming your way for the foreseeable future!!
Big thanks to Natalie and everyone at Klassy Network for seeing a problem and solving it brilliantly!
Today we’re tackling another episode of the Random Show – answering a variety of listener questions on a random assortment of topics including overcoming your fear of failure, hot flashes, snacking, trouble sleeping and the best way to track your food and hormonal biofeedback.
Do you have questions you’d like to have answered on the show? Or maybe topics you’d like me to cover? Get yourself on the VIP e-newsletter list so you’ll have easy access to my inbox when you have questions! And if you just want a personal answer not on the show, that’s cool too! I’m happy to answer all your questions!
Question 1: I’m having a hard time logging my food, hunger, emotions, etc on a daily basis. Tried using a small notebook but found I just wasn’t following through. Wondering if you had any recommendations of good apps I could use on my phone?
Question 2: I have noticed that whenever I have a not so good day with my eating I usually pay for it the next morning when I wake up with major hot flashes. I used to have them all the time (I’m in my 40s) until I cleaned up my diet based off what I’ve learned from your podcasts. I went about 8 weeks with a near to perfect diet feeling fantastic everyday. I decided to celebrate a friends birthday recently and had some pizza and a couple cupcakes, I figure it can’t hurt to do so every now and then, but sure enough woke up the next morning with the hot flashes. Just wondering what the link is between the hot flashes and a not so good day of eating. I assume it’s hormone related, is that correct?
Question 3: I just finished hack my habits, and one of my biggest anchors is night snacking. After I put the twins to bed I start searching for something to eat and then I’ve eaten a whole box of cereal. What would be the best way to hack this habit? Modify it or change it? I need some more support to attack this anchor and finally let it go!
Question 4: I can’t sleep! I know this is messing with my food choices but I just can’t fall asleep and stay asleep! Can you help?
Let’s talk about sleep & fat loss, shall we? I can hear you already – you can’t possibly get more sleep because of your work schedule, your young kids, your evening committments, etc. Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to get more sleep. I want to talk to you about ways you can improve the quality of your sleep, not the quantity. So even if you’re reading this thinking, “Sleep isn’t my problem. I’m out like a light every night” I want you to consider that even you can improve the quality of your sleep by increasing the amout of deep, restorative sleep you’re getting. That’s right, there are specific changes we can make in our diet & lifestyle habits to allow our bodies to enter, and spend more time in, those deeper, restorative stages of sleep that will make a massive difference in our ability to lose fat and our overall health. Let’s dive in. I want to talk about why we need this deep, restorative sleep, how we’re keeping ourselves from it, what happens when we don’t get enough and then get into how to hack your sleep so you get more of this restorative-type sleep.
When we do not get the benefit of this deep, restorative sleep, bad things happen. Bad things that dramatically impair fat loss! Seriously. Just increasing the amount of time you spend in deep, restorative sleep can without a doubt improve your fat loss results. Why? Because just a couple of nights of sleep deprivation (lack of quantity, quality, or both) can lead to insulin resistance. Seriously. The studies are astonishing. Short term sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance dramatically – in some cases making you as insulin resistant as a type 2 diabetic with just a few nights of poor sleep. No joke! Beyond that, missing out on this deep, quality sleep impairs our judgement, our willpower, our focus and our decision making skills.
During Stage 1 sleep we are drifting in and out of sleep. We can be roused easily and this is when we sometimes have that sense that we’re falling and are startled awake. In Stage 2 our eye movement stops and our brain waves slow down. It is harder to be roused during Stage 2. Stages 3 and 4 are the deeper stages of sleep. These stages are anti-aging. They allow for the release of hormones such as human growth hormone that help us heal & recover, these hormones stimulate fat burning, muscle growth and skin rejuvenation. Unfortunately, many of our lifestyle habits keep us from getting into these deep stages of sleep. How? Why?
It always comes back to hormones, doesn’t it? Hormones run the show. If you want to hack your sleep and get more of this deeper, higher quality sleep for faster fat loss, a healthier body and anti-aging benefits, we need to talk about the hormonal interplay and stop screwing with it. In order to get into those deeper stages of sleep (3 & 4) we need to take advantage of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Consider melatonin and cortisol (a stress hormone) like a see-saw. When one goes up, it pushes the other down and vice versa. So – we need adequate melatonin production and release in order to get into the deeper stages of sleep but when we elevate cortisol, we suppress melatonin and though we might fall asleep and stay asleep, we are inhibiting our ability to get quality sleep. Let’s look at some of the ways we’re elevating cortisol and thereby suppressing melatonin:
Chronic stress – This elevates cortisol, thereby suppressing melatonin
Eating before bed – The mere act of eating elevates cortisol. This is more dramatic in overweight or obese individuals. Do your best to avoid eating within a couple hours of bedtime.
Chronic carbohydrate consumption – This is a stressor on the body. Follow the dietary principles outlined here to keep your hormones in balance.
Exercising too close to bedtime – Exercise elevates cortisol. This effect is magnified in long-duration endurance activities like jogging and distance running. Do your best to not exercise within a couple hours of bedtime.
There are also ways in which we suppress melatonin beyond elevating cortisol. One of the most common ways we do this is via light exposure. It makes sense, from a common sense perspective when you stop to think about it. The presence of light tells your body that it is daytime. In day time, you don’t want to be falling asleep so the presence of light suppresses melatonin. It’s important to realize that our eyes are not the only way our body senses light. Our skin has photoreceptors. Again, this makes sense when you think about it – our skin can burn in the presence of light. Our body can convert cholesterol to vitamin D in the presence of light. Our skin senses the light and that will suppress melatonin production. So if you are someone who sleeps with an eye mask and thinks that means your body knows its dark, you’re wrong. You need to black out your room and block any and all sources of light, even from an alarm clock. I also want to make sure to address the fact that certain types of light suppress melatonin more than others. The biggest offender? Blue light. What emits blue light? Electronics. Your TV, computer, tablet, smartphone, etc. Blue light suppresses melatonin more than any other light. Fortunately, if getting off your device a few hours before bed isn’t an option, there are some alternatives you can employ to block the light they are emitting, to some degree. Here are a few places to start.
Blackout your room. Cover any and all sources of light. I bought this alarm clock that doesn’t emit light unless you press a button.
Limit blue light exposure
Limit screen time before bed
Use a blue light blocker from software such as f.lux (Here’s how it works: you put in your time zone and it will automatically dim your screen and change the hue of the light at sunset while automatically changing it back around sunrise)
Consider getting light blocking eye glasses like these (I wear them if I watch TV at night)
Get a rock salt light for your bedroom for nighttime reading. This way you can still have light in your bedroom without supressing melatonin.
Get the TV out of your bedroom.
Get exposure to natural light in the morning. Work with your body’s natural rhythm by exposing yourself to the sun for a few minutes early in the day.
One of the triggers that messages our body to upregulate melatonin release is a drop in temperature. If we think about nature, the outside temperature usually drops at night. Our body is designed to work with nature so a drop in temperature increases melatonin release. Our body temperature naturally drops as we sleep and this triggers melatonin release. Unfortunately, many of us want to feel like a hibernating bear at night and we artificially elevate our body temp via a warm room or a ton of covers. The ideal sleeping temperature for deep, restorative sleep is between 60-68 degrees Farenheit. If the idea of such a cool temp gives you the chills, don’t worry about it. Adjusting your thermostat (down) by even a degree or two will make a difference.
Melatonin suppression has been linked to a whole host of diseases including heart disease, cancer, immune diseases, diabetes and obesity. This is nothing to play around with and it’s pretty easy to address. Besides, if improving your fat loss progress was as simple as improving the quality of your sleep, it’s worth a try, don’t you think??
It is not just about the QUANTITY of your sleep. The QUALITY of your sleep might be preventing your weight loss. That’s right; when we don’t get into those deepest stages of sleep we are making weight loss an uphill battle. We talk about how sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance and how stress, light exposure, food & exercise can impair our ability to get good, quality sleep. We also go through concrete steps you can take TODAY to allow your body to get into those deeper phases of sleep.
The problem: We aren’t getting enough total sleep but, more importantly, we aren’t getting quality sleep. Our diet & lifestyle habits are preventing us from getting deep, healing, restorative sleep. A lack of this deep, restorative sleep leads to major hormonal imbalances, hunger, cravings, lack of satiety, mood swings, depression, fat storage and more.
Even mild, short term sleep deprivation creates MAJOR insulin resistance, keeping your body in fat-storing mode and out of fat-burning mode for longer.
The Solution: Understand how your body is supposed to work. Understand your natural cycles of cortisol and melatonin and how diet and lifestyle choices are throwing that off and preventing your body from getting deep sleep, regardless of the quantity of sleep you’re getting. Our cortisol levels naturally peak in the morning to help us wake up and be ready to tackle the day. Melatonin, the sleep & relaxation hormone, peaks at night helping us to rest, fall asleep and get into these deep stages of sleep. However, we mess up this balance, suppressing melatonin at night and elevating cortisol. While we might be able to fall asleep, this keeps us from getting restorative sleep that we need. Here are some of the things that suppress melatonin or elevate cortisol:
Exposure to light, especially blue light from TVs, tablets and cell phones, suppresses melatonin
Late night eating elevates cortisol
Chronic stress elevates cortisol
Chronic consumption of sugar and processed foods elevates cortisol (remember, everytime we elevate cortisol we are suppressing melatonin)
Minimize blue light exposure once the sun goes down
Consider downloading the free software f.lux
Consider orange-light glasses
Exposure yourself to natural light during the day time and avoid excess light once the sun goes down
Get blackout curtains and cover all sources of light in your bedroom – the photoreceptors in your skin can sense the light and this will supress melatonin production
Don’t exercise within a couple hours of bedtime (this will increase cortisol and suppress melatonin)
Practice stress management techniques such as meditation or leisure walking
Control your blood sugar. Limit or eliminate processed foods
Stop eating within a couple hours of bedtime
Lower the temperature in your bedroom by a couple of degrees (the ideal temp for sleeping is 60-68 degrees. Wear socks.)
Limit your caffeine after lunch time. Caffeine will elevate cortisol and suppress melatonin
For more on hormones and fat loss, check out the Primal Potential Fat Loss ebook Research: