I don't know about you, but almost every second of my waking hours (roughly 18) is spent in front of some kind of screen. And when you factor in that I only sleep five or six hours per night, well, that's an alarming statistic, and 64,800 seconds of quality time (to be annoyingly accurate). The second I wake up, I grab my phone to scroll through Instagram and check texts and emails, a pattern that continues while I get ready, sip my first dose of coffee, and even eat breakfast. Honestly, the only time I'm 100% not on my phone is during my morning and evening commutes. Thank the heavens for L.A. traffic, huh? Without it, I'd probably be logging an extra hour or two of additional screen time. (See, fellow Angelenos? There's always a silver lining if you look hard enough.)
Since I don't live under a rock, I know this isn't a healthy practice. But I also know things like raw cookie dough, tequila shots, and stalking my ex-boyfriend's IG account are equally ill-advised. And yet, does that stop me? You can probably guess. I know I should unplug once I make it home and collapse into bed. Read a book, perhaps? Call a friend? Take a bath? All lovely ideas, of course, but my nightcap of choice is usually more IG scrolling, catching up on the internet reads I missed during the day (that work hustle, though), and a hearty helping of Netflix—the ultimate escape if I've had an especially stressful day. Oh, and sometimes I just continue to work into the wee hours of the night.
Therefore, since screen time (hello, sleep-disrupting blue light) macro-manages the majority of my time—especially pre-bedtime, it's not a huge surprise that I have a tumultuous relationship with sleep. A) I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep to begin with. B) I periodically wake up during the night. And C) I wake up heart-stoppingly early—even on the weekends when my unnecessary alarm clock has been silenced. (FYI: I can't help it.) Now, I will say I've always had an ebb-and-flow relationship with bedtime. My mother has sleep issues too, and I had weird sleep patterns even before my life was pretty much dictated by the blue light coming from my various collection of screens. But that hasn't helped matters. Thus, enter my new unexpected saving grace: a pair of brilliantly designed blue light–cutting specs from The Book Club. They're comfy, they're adorable, and when I wear my style (One Hundred Beers of Solitude, $40), I feel like Marilyn Monroe circa How to Marry a Millionaire. (If you haven't seen it, I recommend streaming it ASAP—wearing said glasses, obviously.) Curious to find out how something as seemingly superficial as an Instagrammable pair of glasses has made over my approach to bedtime? Keep scrolling.
What They Say
As I said, it's no secret the addiction to our screens has spurred quite the recent outcry of research and (disturbing) findings regarding our circadian rhythm, eye health, and even our emotions and happiness. And while any light at night can potentially have a negative impact on our health (it interferes with our body's natural production of melatonin), it's the blue light wavelengths, in particular, science says we should be wariest of. Which, you guessed it, forcefully flow out of our phones, laptops, and tablets.
"While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully," explains an article from the Harvard Health Publishing. "Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (three hours versus an hour and a half)."
Which is where The Book Club comes in (cue the angels singing "Hallelujah"). According to the brand's website, if you (like me and 83% of all other Americans) are exposed to two or more hours of blue light per day, you're simultaneously becoming more susceptible to eyestrain, headaches, and sleep disruption. (Migraines are another common symptom.) With the brand's specially designed glasses sitting on your nose, however, your exposure to blue light is strategically slashed by 30%. And while 30% might not seem that astronomical, it is when you think about the accumulative, positive impact that percentage can have long-term. I don't see our screentime dwindling anytime soon—do you?
"The Book Club +0 Screen lenses cut down blue-light absorption by 30%, limiting the overexposure to blue light emitted from screens and indoor lighting around the clock," the brand explains. And while you could follow the age-old recommendation of simply banishing all blue light and screen activity two to three hours before bed to avoid the aforementioned negative effects, is that honestly realistic? For some, maybe. But for a person like me who often works late hours, likes catching up on my phone at night, and wholeheartedly enjoys my Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, that's just not going to happen. Which is is why I welcomed my new blue light–blocking glasses with open arms—and eyes. Plus, they're just really effing cute, and upon receiving, I pretty much wanted to wear them 24-7 and not just when I was in front of a screen. Oh, wait.
What I Say
Like I said, the glasses I was sent from the brand are ridiculously cute, and it took roughly two minutes for me to slap them on after unboxing them. I knew blue light–blocking glasses from some other brands have reputations for noticeably skewing the tinge of your eyesight (so it appears warmer versus cooler, hence "blue-blocking"), so I was immediately delighted when I realized everything looked pretty much the same. No weird tinges in sight. Plus, while the lenses do have a bit of a reflective blue tint externally, it's super subtle and probably not noticeable to an outside observer. Therefore, when you're wearing them out in public or at work (which I totally have), you don't have to feel like you need to explain yourself.
In general, I've been trying to wear my blue light–blocking glasses during that aforementioned two- to three-hour span I'm looking at some kind of screen before bed—be it my laptop or my phone. And interestingly, starting my very first night of wear, I noticed my eyes felt heavy sooner than they typically do. Even though I still felt wired from my day as I went through my skincare routine just a half hour or so before, soon after, I was already set to tap out for the night. Bizarre, considering I usually struggle to force myself to turn the lights out at night (despite my self-inflicted early-morning wake-up call.)
As it turns out, this wasn't a one-time fluke either. Every night I wear my glasses (and I've been getting better and better at being more consistent), falling asleep comes easier, and I also have a harder, deeper sleep. I've also been trying to wear the blue light–blocking glasses during the day since they help relieve eyestrain in general. No, I'm not going to make the bold claim that these epically ingenious glasses will change your life or your sleeping patterns (everyone is different!), but they have made a significant difference in mine. Best-case scenario: You try them, you look chic AF, and you have better sleep. Worst-case scenario: You try them, you look chic AF, and nothing happens to your sleep. You still end up with the long side of the stick!
Of course, here at Byrdie HQ, we love anything and everything that promises an indulgent bedtime routine. Keep scrolling for our team's luxe sleep-inducing recommendations to pair with your new eyewear. And cheers to a better night's sleep!