Fixing My Messed Up Sleep Schedule

Sleep has always been a huge problem for me. My issue isn’t that I don’t sleep enough, it’s that I can’t sleep at night or wake up. If you don’t have a problem like this, that might sound stupid, but I’ve been like this as long as I can remember (at least since junior high). I’ve talked to a doctor before who thought I might have delayed sleep phase disorder, but haven’t gone so far as to do a sleep study.

Things I’ve tried are a sunrise alarm clock, a blue light I shine on my face in the morning, and over the counter sleep aids. They all helped somewhere between not at all and marginally. Last night, I tried something new: blue light blocking glasses. During the day, blue light from the sun tells your body it’s time to be awake and you start producing serotonin. At night the lack of that light tells your body to produce melatonin, which makes you sleepy. That’s what directs your circadian rhythm, which makes total sense evolutionarily. Unfortunately we didn’t evolve with televisions, household lights, and iPhone’s that produce that same kind of light in abundance. If you’re around any of those things, your body won’t produce melatonin and it will be harder to fall asleep (I’m sure this affects some people more than others). This web page explains it in more detail if you don’t want to just take my word for it. Anyway, I bought some glasses block blue light that I can wear in the evening to my body does the right things.

They are also the nerdiest looking things I have ever seen:

Blue light glasses

Never having company over in the evening again aside, the first night appears to have been a success. I started wearing them when I got home from work and was able to fall asleep earlier (surprising since I only woke up 11 hours before), and woke up the earliest I have in months (an hour before my alarm!) feeling fine. It would be sort of amazing if a $20 pair of yellow glasses really does that much to solve a problem that’s been ongoing for most of my life. My plan is to track my sleep (I love any excuse to make a spreadsheet) for the next couple of weeks and report back with the results. I also bought a new bulb for my sunrise alarm clock, so I’m going to start using that again, and I’m going to stop drinking coffee except in the morning.

Excited to see how this goes.

Collin Donnell @collin