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Re-Timer Review: Beat the Winter Blues

Re-Timer Review: Beat the Winter Blues

Reset to an optimal circadian rhythm and get that body clock back in check. Alter your sleep due to shift work or travel. Bring the sunshine inside when there simply isn’t enough natural light in those long winter months. Re-Timer light therapy glasses change your sleep patterns to suit your life.

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Re-Timers are portable, blue or green light-emitting glasses designed to help adjust your body’s internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. This can be beneficial for people who:

    • Experience jet lag due to frequent travel
    • Work night shifts and struggle with daytime sleepiness
    • Have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • Suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

How do they work?

Light exposure, particularly blue and green wavelengths, plays a crucial role in regulating the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness. By mimicking natural daylight, Re-Timers suppress melatonin production in the morning, helping you feel more alert and awake. In the evening, avoiding bright light exposure allows melatonin levels to rise, promoting better sleep.

Features of Re-Timer glasses:

    • Portable and comfortable: Unlike traditional light therapy lamps, Re-Timers are worn like glasses, allowing for hands-free light exposure while going about your morning routine.
    • Safe and effective: The emitted light is 100% UV-free and meets international eye safety standards. Six published clinical trials support their efficacy in adjusting sleep patterns.
    • Adjustable intensity: You can choose between two brightness levels (315 lux and 500 lux) to personalize your light therapy experience.
    • Timer function: The glasses automatically turn off after the set treatment duration (20, 30, or 60 minutes).

Things to consider:

    • While generally safe, Re-Timers may not be suitable for everyone, especially individuals with certain eye conditions or epilepsy. Consulting a healthcare professional before using them is recommended.
    • The effectiveness of light therapy can vary depending on individual factors and the specific condition being addressed.

Overall, Re-Timer light therapy glasses offer a convenient and potentially effective way to manage sleep issues related to circadian rhythm disruption. If you’re interested in trying them, talking to your doctor or a sleep specialist can help determine if they’re the right fit for you.

The Science of Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs seasonally, most commonly during the fall and winter months when daylight hours are shorter. Many people with SAD experience symptoms like low mood, fatigue, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite.

Light therapy is a well-established and effective treatment for SAD. It involves sitting in front of a bright light box for 20-60 minutes each day, usually first thing in the morning. The light emitted by the box mimics natural sunlight and is thought to work by:

    • Suppressing melatonin production: Melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy. In people with SAD, melatonin production may be increased during the day, contributing to fatigue and low mood. Light therapy helps to suppress melatonin production, making you feel more alert and awake.
    • Regulating your circadian rhythm: Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Light exposure plays a key role in setting your circadian rhythm. In people with SAD, their circadian rhythm may be out of sync, contributing to their symptoms. Light therapy can help to reset your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality.
    • Increasing serotonin levels: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation. Studies have shown that light therapy can increase serotonin levels in people with SAD, which may contribute to improved mood.

The Science Behind the Mechanisms:

The exact mechanisms by which light therapy works are still not fully understood. However, research suggests that it may involve changes in several brain regions and neurotransmitters. For example, light therapy has been shown to activate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates the circadian rhythm and melatonin production. It may also increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in mood regulation.

Effectiveness of Light Therapy:

Numerous studies have shown that light therapy is an effective treatment for SAD. In fact, it is often considered the first-line treatment for this condition. A review of research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that light therapy was significantly more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of SAD.

Things to Consider:

While light therapy is generally safe and well-tolerated, there are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Side effects: Some people may experience side effects from light therapy, such as headaches, eyestrain, and irritability. These side effects are usually mild and temporary.
    • Not for everyone: Light therapy may not be effective for everyone with SAD. It is important to talk to your doctor to see if light therapy is right for you.
    • Importance of consistency: For light therapy to be effective, it is important to use it consistently, every day, for at least a few weeks.

Light therapy is a safe and effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder. If you are struggling with SAD, talk to your doctor about whether light therapy is right for you.

My Re-Timer Findings

If you live anywhere a bit north or south of the equator you can understand how lack of sunlight can affect your sleep schedule. I live in Minnesota where the sun sets around 5pm during most of the winter. That means that you are usually going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Too much of this routing will inevitably lead to changes in mood and energy levels. You can also get this same side effect from traveling to different time zones where your body has to adjust to local time. A common problem among business travelers.

To remedy this, I have purchased a “Happy Light” which I would sit in front of for about half an hour each morning, or at least try to. Usually I am way too busy with getting the kids out the door and trying to get to work on time to spare another half our to sit tethered in front of a light.

Enter the Re-Timer. It’s works just as effectively if not more so than a happy light and it can be worn just like a regular pair of glasses. UV free light unobtrusively beams right to where your body needs it the most to get you energized and back on schedule. Since it’s portable, I’m much more likely to put them on and can even use them in bed while my wife is still sleeping without waking her up as well. The Re-Timer is charged with a standard USB cable and each charge lasts up to 4 hours. Given I only need to use it for 30 minutes a day I can go a whole week without having to recharge. If you travel frequently it’s your best bet for getting your sleeping schedule in sync with local time. It comes with a nice carrying case that can pack neatly into your suitcase.

The Re-Timer is backed by peer reviewed research that proves its efficacy. Knowing that, if you have been diagnosed with SAD, you may be able to purchase this product as a Health Savings Account (HSA) expense, tax free.

I look forward to using my Re-Timer this coming fall as the days start getting shorter and will report on my progress as winter approaches. In the mean time, do yourself and your sleep a favor and get one of these!

Update 12-17-15

We’re getting close to the Winter Solstice and I am feeling the full effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This past week I have had an insatiable appetite, especially for carbohydrates. In fact, I bought a box of donuts on impulse on the drive home from work a few days ago and ate 3 that night. I’m lethargic and have a short temper.

Thankfully I remembered the re timer. I used it this morning at 6am for 20 minutes in bed. It’s very convenient and doesn’t light up the entire room so that your significant other can still seep. It’s amazing how dark it really gets this time of year in Minnesota. It took me a little while just to tolerate the light near my eyes let alone wear the glasses. After 20 minutes I turned them off and the room looked pitch black.

It takes about 4 days for the effects of the re timer to kick in so I am going to do this all weekend. I’m also going to keep to a consistent sleep time which will also help with energy levels.

It’s nice to know that I have this tool in my sleep arsenal. 

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Re-Timer light therapy glasses are priced at $179 USD on their official website. They come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the results. You can also get a 4-year protection plan through Asurion for an additional cost, which covers accidental damage, drops, spills, and cracked screens.

Here’s a quick summary of the price, trial, and warranty options:

Price$179 USD
Trial30-day money-back guarantee
Warranty1-year manufacturer’s warranty (includes defects in materials and workmanship)
Optional protection plan4-year Asurion protection plan (covers accidental damage)

Light Therapy Glasses Similar to Re-Timer

Here are a few popular light therapy glasses similar to Re-Timers:

1. Luminette 3:

    • Pros: Clinically proven to improve sleep quality, reduce jet lag, and boost energy levels. Lightweight and comfortable to wear, with adjustable nose pads and ear hooks. Offers a wider range of light intensity levels (150 to 270 lux) compared to Re-Timers.
    • Cons: More expensive than Re-Timers, priced at $199 USD. Requires charging every 3-4 days, whereas Re-Timers last up to 6 hours on a single charge.

2. AYO Premium Blue Light Therapy Glasses:

    • Pros: Stylish design with interchangeable lens colors. Blocks harmful blue light from digital screens, potentially improving sleep quality and reducing eye strain. Affordable option, priced at $69.99 USD.
    • Cons: Not specifically designed for light therapy, so the light intensity may not be as effective as dedicated therapy glasses like Re-Timers or Luminette 3.

3. TheraSpecs Winslow Indoor Glasses:

    • Pros: Ideal for people with light sensitivity or migraine headaches, as the glasses block specific blue wavelengths that can trigger these conditions. Available in a variety of lens colors and styles. Relatively inexpensive, starting at around $129 USD.
    • Cons: Not intended for regulating sleep patterns like Re-Timers or Luminette 3. May not be suitable for everyone, as the tinted lenses can affect color perception.

4. Lumos Light Therapy Glasses:

    • Pros: Discreet and stylish design that looks like regular eyeglasses. Offers personalized light therapy programs based on your chronotype (morning lark or night owl). App integration allows for tracking your sleep patterns and progress.
  • Cons: Most expensive option on this list, priced at $349 USD. Requires charging every day. Less research available on the effectiveness of Lumos compared to other brands.

Reset to an optimal circadian rhythm and get that body clock back in check. Alter your sleep due to shift work or travel. Bring the sunshine inside when there simply isn’t enough natural light in those long winter months. Re-Timer light therapy glasses change your sleep patterns to suit your life.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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