Quick -- which one is me, and which one is Bono?
I know, it's really hard to tell. OK, so there might be some differences, but you can clearly see the similarity -- the orange glasses. Bono wears them because of a sensitivity to light. You should wear them too, but for an entirely different reason.
I'm Sure You've Heard the Advice.
They say if you want to get to sleep at night easier, you need to stop using your iPad or watching TV at least two hours before bed. The light, they say, keeps you awake.
I've found that to be true but, come on...give up reading my iPad at night? Stop watching Bait Car at midnight? Get real. That's just not going to happen.
The Science Behind Sleep vs. Technology
Here's why your phone, tablet, or television keeps you from sleeping: Exposure to daylight-coloured light (the kind that beams out of your digital devices) "causes the pineal gland to reduce production of melatonin." Melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy and lowers your body temperature.
In other words, use any digital device that beams light at you and you'll have trouble getting to sleep. (This, incidentally, is why e-ink Kindles are usually recommended for night-readers. They don't produce any light on their own.)
If you could block out these daylight colours (mostly blue colours), your body would produce melatonin like it should and you'll fall asleep easier. There's even research behind this.
Enter, Bono's Orange Glasses
This is exactly what orange glasses do. (I'm not talking about regular glasses with a slight orange tint -- I mean glasses that are very orange.) They block 95 per cent of blue- and daylight-coloured light from your eyes.
I've been wearing them for a while now and I can tell you it actually works. I wear them starting about two hours before I go to sleep, then I use my iPad lots, watch TV, etc. And I end up falling asleep way easier and faster than ever before.
And, more importantly, it makes me and Bono nearly indistinguishable from each other. As you can clearly see.
If you're having difficulty falling asleep, don't stay under the covers in hopes of somehow becoming drowsy, says Nitun Verma, M.D., a sleep specialist and the medical director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders in Fremont, Calif. "You don't want to lie in bed and frown your eyebrows and force yourself to sleep," Dr. Verma explains. "That almost universally backfires." Instead, get up and try to find an activity that is somewhere between stimulating and boring, like reading a few chapters from a favorite book. "You're trying to guide your mind into focusing on something, but not something overly exciting," he says. After you've done that for a while, get back into bed and see if it puts an end to insomnia.
Having a late-night cocktail or glass of wine just before bedtime might seem like the perfect way to drift into dreamland, but it's not a good solution. Though you may initially be sleepy from the alcohol, once it wears off you'll likely wake up several times during the night. "Your arousal threshold is lower," Verma says. "If there's a noise in the house above that level, it's going to wake you up." A smart solution to avoid insomnia? Cut off all alcoholic beverages several hours before you plan to go to bed.
Thanks to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the entire Internet is at your fingertips while you lie in bed at night. However, the light that emanates from these gizmos can actually keep you alert when you should be getting sleepy. "If your eyes are getting really bright light before bedtime, that bright light is telling your brain to stay awake," Verma says. To avoid this effect, begin dimming all the lights in your house three hours before bedtime and put away the electronics completely.
Of course you know not to have a double-shot espresso late at night, but could your 5 p.m. cup of coffee still be keeping you awake at 10? And what about that before-bed hot cocoa? The caffeine in your coffee, chocolate, tea and some soft drinks is a stimulant, and its effects can last many hours after you sip. In fact, it takes about 6 hours for half of the caffeine you take in to be eliminated by your body. To keep you from singing the sleepless latte blues, limit your daily caffeine intake to a moderate amount (about three 8-ounce cups of coffee) and stop consuming caffeinated beverages or foods well before the evening.
With the advent of 24-hour health clubs, it's now possible to work out well past dinnertime. But exercising within 2 hours of bedtime can thwart your sleep by keeping your body temperature higher than it should be. "In the evening, your body temperature drops slightly," Verma says. "It's one of the signals that your brain gets that it's time to fall asleep. But if you're doing something fairly strenuous, your metabolism is up and your heart rate is up, and you can cover up that signal." Wrap up your treadmill and iron-pumping sessions by the early evening at the latest to avoid paying the price of sleeplessness later.
It may seem efficient to pay bills or answer your work e-mail from the comfort of your bed, but turning your sleeping space into a miniature office can have serious drawbacks. "You don't want your brain to associate work stress or problems with sleeping," Verma says. Reserve your bed exclusively for sleep and sex, and you may find yourself getting more restful shut-eye at night.
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