We were recently introduced to Re-Timer, a wearable device which helps you change your sleep patterns. We’ve long been familiar with the work of sleep psychologists Dr. Leon Lack and Dr. Helen Wright— inventors of Re-Timer , so we were very excited to meet Dr. Lack recently at the SLEEP 2015 Conference in Seattle. He told us about his work developing Re-Timer and we had the chance to talk about his research on how wavelengths of light affect sleep.
The Re-Timer team kindly sent us two pairs of glasses to try out at home.
What’s a Re-Timer?
Re-Timer is a lightweight, eyeglass-like frame that you wear over your eyes. Inside sits a row of LED lights with the right color and brightness to quickly set your circadian clock. Re-Timer has two brightness options, and the green light works well for older eyes too, without the glare or discomfort that an equally bright white or blue light would cause.
How you use your Re-Timer depends on what you want to do. Let’s say you want to wake up earlier. Maybe you’re travelling east, or maybe you want some time in the morning to do your own projects before heading to the office. That means seeing the right kind of bright light when you wake up, so you’d wear your Re-Timer first thing in the morning. The next day, your body will be ready to wake up a little earlier. You’ll keep wearing Re-Timer in the morning for 30 minutes to an hour, until you’ve reached your desired wakeup time.
The Re-Timer website offers a sleep timing calculator and a jet lag calculator, and there’s even a Re-Timer fitbit app for measuring your results. Simply answer a few questions about your current waking hours and your desired waking hour, and you get a customized timing schedule. Most people are able to shift their schedule in just a few days.
When you use a Re-Timer, you can walk around freely and do all your usual activities: cooking breakfast, or reading the news, or watching TV. Lorna found wearing Re-Timer to be perfectly comfortable while moving around the house or reading on a laptop or mobile phone. Michael liked using his laptop with it, but he discovered that the lights were positioned near where he normally views his phone. One note: it’s never to be used while driving, but you could definitely wear it on the train or plane. In fact, you would probably end up meeting everyone if you did.
Who should use Re-Timer
Re-Timer is a great tool for business travelers and frequent fliers. It would make a fantastic gift for someone who is often crossing time zones. If you have an important faraway trip planned, you can begin resetting your body several days before you leave so you’ll already be adjusted to local time and feeling ready to go when your flight lands.
By all the metrics we have, Re-Timer is likely the safest device of its kind on the market. Still, it isn’t recommended for kids under the age of 13, because their lenses don’t filter light the same way as adults. And people with photosensitivity conditions, eye disease or bipolar disorder should not use it unless directed by a doctor.
Re-timer is a great option if you are a night-owl in an early world, or you or someone you love wakes up a lot earlier than they want to. Shift workers can use it to help maintain a strong light-dark cycle. Re-Timer would be a good gift for a high school or college student who has too-early school start times, or a graduate who’s starting an early new job. It’s also an easy way to get bright morning light if you live in a place with short winter days.
How to purchase Re-Timer