Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Luminette Light Therapy Glasses
Quite often Laura is offered goods to review as part of the blog. Recently Luminette got in touch and offered a pair of their light therapy glasses in return for an unbiased review. They’re not so useful to Laura (in that they do nothing to make toddlers sleep which is the chief cause of her sleep issues) but for me, with the travelling I do in my current job, they could be quite handy. The notion of light therapy glasses is that the natural rhythms of your body are controlled by exposure to light and if these get out of whack (through jet lag or insomnia) you can kick them back in by using these glasses.
The practical end of this is that these are plastic glasses that sit slightly above your eyes. LEDs on the inside of the glasses shine light into your eyes at 3 different levels. By doing this at the right time of the day the extra light can reset your bodily rhythms and help you get a sleep pattern sorted. This is attractive as an idea because anyone who has had to take sleeping pills before will attest that they can leave you very groggy in the morning, which is not great when you have a day of travelling ahead. In this review I am not going to go into whether or not the science is good. The glasses have been verified by 4 studies according to their marketing info and more to the point, I don’t have the facilities to do a properly controlled test. What I am going to comment on is my experience and how that went.
So the test was 2 weeks on the West Coast of the USA, a week and a day back in the UK and then 2 weeks in Bangalore, India. That should be enough to ensure that by the return from Bangalore I really wouldn’t be sure what day it is.
My regime is as follows, fly, sleep on the plane if I can, push through and go to bed at normal time. When I get to the destination I take 10mg Melotonin (the hormone the body uses to control sleep, available without prescription in the USA, bizarrely unobtainable over here) until the Wednesday night of my visit (I usually fly out on a Sunday/Monday). I expect to be clear of jet lag by the Wednesday though Tuesday afternoons are often when it peaks. This time around I would also use the Luminette as directed.
So, when to use the Luminette. This is when things got tricky. The Luminette comes with an instruction booklet and an app which I duly downloaded. It allowed me to input all my upcoming flights. I thought ‘this is great, it’s just going to send me a notification when it’s time to do the glasses thing – how good’. Unfortunately not so, the app presents you with a calendar which you have to manually check to see when it’s time to get an extra dose of light. What’s worse is that it suggested using the glasses at different times to the instruction booklet which was confusing.
Once I had clocked when to use the glasses (by reading the book, checking the app and choosing which time was most convenient of the two) it was easy. You sit with the glasses on and choose from 3 power levels, the greater the power, the shorter the time cycle. At the end of a session the glasses blink to let you know it’s time to take them off. That all went well. The glasses themselves are a bit heavy and not hugely comfortable but it’s no big drama over the 15 minutes I wore them. Likewise I felt a bit odd at the end of the session as my eyes adjusted back to normal levels of light but again, no real drama there.
I used the glasses and Melotonin for both trips and for the sojourn back in the UK in the middle and it all seemed to go pretty well. The Luminette instructions allow for Melotonin use too, which was handy. I did not feel very jet lagged and my sleep quickly adjusted to a healthy pattern. I was in India with a colleague and even at the end of the trip he was getting 6 hours sleep at best, whereas my amount of sleep was determined by how late I was up watching Netflix.
So, whether this was simply judicious use of Melotonin or a combination of the glasses and the Melotonin I don’t know, but I slept well and did not really have jet lag on any of the legs of my travelling. So they work, I think.
Would I recommend them? I’m not sure. They cost £185 which is a lot of money (Melotonin is $10 for 30 tablets). Also, while I think it’s just a product maturity thing, the fact that the app and the instructions disagreed annoyed me. The fact that the app suggests taking Melotonin at 3am is also annoying, that would mean you are still fully drowsy well into the working day and furthermore that you would set an alarm just to wake up to take something to make you sleep, that’s bonkers. Finally, the design of the app is lazy. The whole thing about apps is convenience, so why doesn’t it just put a notification on the screen to tell me it’s time for the glasses? That would have made my life a lot easier. From a product at this price point this really needs to be improved. As the glasses are effective, minimal hassle to use and I have them already I will continue with them. I may try them out if I get any non-child related insomnia but would I spend £185 on these? I’m really not sure.
*Disclosure: The Luminette glasses were sent to us for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own.