Use Light To Biohack Your Circadian Rhythm for Sleep

Setting yourself up for a good night’s rest starts as soon as you wake up

Illustration of a woman using a laptop and red light therapy panel next to a snowy window, man sitting on his balcony in the sun, and man sleeping with an eye mask on.

Table of Contents

Natural Light

Funny Enough, The Ultimate Sleep Biohack Is Lots of Natural Light

Harness natural light from the sun to improve your sleep naturally. When you biohack your circadian rhythm with the sun’s magical beams, you set yourself up for a great night’s sleep.

Fit shirtless man with hands on hips and eyes closed standing in the sun.

Get More Sunlight and Sleep Better

Sunlight is one of the best natural sleep aids. The body’s internal clock — called the circadian rhythm — controls wake and sleep cycles. Sunlight influences the circadian rhythm and tells the body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep.1

Exposure to natural light will increase your energy levels throughout the day and improve your sleep naturally by regulating your circadian rhythm. Sun exposure in the morning and throughout the day will ensure the body produces sleep hormones when the time comes to hit the pillow. Sunlight also offers several other health benefits, including improved immunity and mental health.2

Biohacking Sleep Can Be a Walk in the Park

Going for a walk or hike outdoors is a great way to get exposure to sunlight while exercising– which is also important for sleep. Ordinary windows block about 26% of UVA rays,3 therefore, it’s important to spend time outside for direct sunlight. 

Wearing sunglasses, clothing, and sunscreen can prevent you from experiencing the full benefits of natural sunlight.4 Protection is advised when spending extended periods in the sun. However, if you’re only outside for 30 minutes to an hour a day, you’ll want to aim to get direct sunlight, without protection, to improve sleep quality and overall well-being. People with light skin require less time in the sun than those with tanned or dark skin to get the benefits associated with sun exposure.5 

Sunlight, whether absorbed through the eyes or the skin, provides the body with Vitamin D.6 Proper Vitamin D levels are crucial for quality sleep. Natural sunlight also helps with mood and immunity.7 Just thirty minutes a day will improve sleep and overall health. 

Let In the Light To Set Your Body’s Internal Clock

Although nothing can replace time outside, increasing the amount of natural light you absorb while indoors can also help enhance your sleep. Open the window shades, letting in natural light in the morning and throughout the day. Installing skylights and adding reflective materials to your home will also increase natural light exposure. Everything from your curtains to your doors and windows affects the amount of natural light that comes into your home. Be sure to opt for light colors and lots of windows to increase exposure and improve sleep quality.

“Daylight is an ideal light source for the circadian system — it’s on and off at the right time, it has the right color, and it has the right intensity.”

Dr. Mariana Figueiro

 Scientist

Banner of half-risen orange suns in different designs.

Window Coverings

SmartSheer

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Green and wallet-friendly, the patented SmartSheer semi-sheer curtains offer ample light and enhanced privacy, delivering superior energy savings compared to regular sheers. They save around $10 per window annually, providing insulation against cold in cooler climates and heat in warmer ones. Plus, they filter out harmful UV rays, helping to preserve your furniture and carpets.

MagicLinen

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Elevate your home with Magic Linen curtain panel, offered in a range of MagicLinen colors. These soft, semi-sheer curtains drape beautifully, offering both privacy and a cheerful infusion of daylight. They come with a convenient rod pocket for easy hanging. These curtains are a versatile and stylish addition to any room, enhancing both its aesthetics and functionality.

April Notes

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Elevate your home’s ambiance with these high-quality European linen curtains, striking the perfect balance between privacy and natural light, and offering versatile styling options for various spaces. Drape these lightweight and airy linen curtains to infuse your living space with a relaxed, chic aesthetic that complements any decor.

Linen Me

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This pure linen Chevron curtain boasts a herringbone weave, providing a graceful drape thanks to its heavier weight. It features a timeless pencil pleat finish created with wrinkle tape on the heading. Choose from widths of 80-100cm with pencil pleats or 130cm when left unpleated, and explore a variety of 36 colors to find the perfect match for your interior.

Lamps

Verilux

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Verilux’s HappyLight® Alba is a compact light therapy lamp that mimics sunlight, offering UV-free, full-spectrum 10,000 lux light with customizable settings for brightness and color temperature, along with a programmable countdown timer for sessions up to 1 hour in 10-minute increments, providing a convenient and effective light therapy solution.

Northern Lights

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The Flamingo II is a 46-inch high-end floor lamp that delivers 10,000 Lux of bright white light from two 18 Watt LED bulbs when placed 12 inches away. With its modern design, it’s suitable for gyms, lounges, offices, and more. It features a long, heavy-duty power cord for easy placement and cord storage in the base for a tidy look.

Casper Glow

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Glow is a sleep-enhancing light designed to aid in winding down and improving sleep quality. It features a warm, dimming light at bedtime and a gradual, soft morning light to ease waking up. The light is controlled through intuitive gestures and can be customized via an accompanying app. Additionally, it’s portable for late-night use without disrupting sleep.

Loftie

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Improve your sleep with Loftie’s light solutions. Loftie’s sunrise alarm adjusts brightness and color to help you wake up gently. Choose from various colors and modes for relaxation, create a healthy bedtime routine, and support overnight recovery. You can use Loftie’s app or pair with the Loftie Clock for a complete wake-up experience.

Sunrise Alarm Clocks

Lumie

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The Bodyclock Shine 300 alarm clock replicates a sunrise to wake you up gradually, promoting better mood and energy. It also helps establish a healthy screen-free bedtime routine and aids in falling asleep with a calming sunset and soothing sounds. The reduced-blue light content of its LEDs creates an ideal environment for easy sleep.

Hatch

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Hatch specializes in promoting natural sleep and healthy routines for over 3 million people, from babies to adults. Discover the secrets to achieving high-quality Zzzzs and wake up feeling refreshed. Experience the difference with Hatch and embark on a journey to better sleep and well-being.

iHome

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Transform your sleep routine with the Zenergy Dream Mini (iZBT7). This versatile device features 16 soothing natural sounds and white noise to promote relaxation, plus 14 specialized light therapy programs for better sleep and increased energy. Wake up gradually with a simulated sunrise. Stream music or podcasts wirelessly. Dual alarms and customizable settings make it your ideal sleep and wake companion.

WiiM

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The WiiM Wake-up Light offers a comprehensive sound machine with limitless sound choices, personalized sleep and wake routines, and versatile lighting for daily use. It aligns with your body’s natural circadian rhythm, allowing you to wake up refreshed. Choose from soothing nature sounds, news updates, or energizing Spotify music to start your day right.

Light Bulbs

BonCharge

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Enhance your well-being and boost productivity with the BonCharge circadian-friendly lighting solution that replicates natural sunlight phases. This low EMF light bulb is flicker-free, ensuring a healthy home or office environment, helping you feel your best.

Harth

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Enhance sleep with Harth’s Motion Activated light. It avoids sleep-disrupting blue wavelengths, stays on for 30 seconds after detecting dark motion, and promotes melatonin production naturally. Say goodbye to sleeping pills and sleep better for a better you!

Health Lighting

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Experience Chromalux® lamps, crafted in Finland over 60 years ago. Unlike standard bulbs, they offer healthful and radiant qualities, akin to natural sunlight, enhancing your well-being and surroundings.

Hooga

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Use this non-flickering amber LED bulb to promote melatonin production and reduce nighttime eye strain. Ideal for bedtime reading or as a kid’s nightlight, it creates a soothing environment for quality sleep.

SkyLights

Solatube

Harness the power of advanced technology in our daylighting system. With Raybender® 3000 Technology and the LightTracker™ Reflector, our dome captures abundant daylight from all angles, day in and day out. The Spectralight® Infinity Tubing ensures brightness even around corners, and integrated Solar-Electric Technology stores energy to power the smart NightLight.

Solatube tubular skylight with cut-out showing how sunlight reflects off the chrome.

Velux

Upgrade your home with the Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylight, powered by a solar panel that opens and closes the skylight to harness daylight and fresh air. It includes a rain sensor for automatic closure in bad weather. Enhance your living space with natural light and ventilation, and enjoy long-term energy savings on your utility bills.

Velux solar-powered fresh air skylight cracked open.

1. Tähkämö L, Partonen T, Pesonen AK, Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm, Chronobiol Int., 2019 Feb;36(2):151-170, doi: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773, Epub 2018 Oct 12, PMID: 30311830: https://doi.org/10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773.

2. Heiskanen V, Pfiffner M, Partonen T, Sunlight and health: shifting the focus from vitamin D3 to photobiomodulation by red and near-infrared light, Ageing Res Rev., 2020 Aug;61:101089, doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2020.101089., Epub 2020 May 25, PMID: 32464190: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2020.101089.

3. Duarte I, Rotter A, Malvestiti A, Silva M, The role of glass as a barrier against the transmission of ultraviolet radiation: an experimental study, Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed, 2009 Aug;25(4):181-4, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.2009.00434.x, PMID: 19614895: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0781.2009.00434.x.

4. Mead MN, Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health, Environ Health Perspect., 2008 Apr;116(4):A160-7, doi: 10.1289/ehp.116-a160, Erratum in: Environ Health Perspect., 2008 May;116(5):A197, PMID: 18414615; PMCID: PMC2290997: https://doi.org/10.1289%2Fehp.116-a160.

5. Avise JC, Ayala FJ, In the Light of Evolution: Volume IV: The Human Condition, National Academy of Sciences (US), Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. 9, Human Skin Pigmentation as an Adaptation to UV Radiation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK210015/.

6. Patwardhan VG, Mughal ZM, Padidela R, Chiplonkar SA, Khadilkar VV, Khadilkar AV, Randomized Control Trial Assessing Impact of Increased Sunlight Exposure versus Vitamin D Supplementation on Lipid Profile in Indian Vitamin D Deficient Men, Indian J Endocrinol Metab., 2017 May-June;21(3):393-398, doi: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_9_17, PMID: 28553593; PMCID: PMC5434721: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28553593.

7. González Maglio DH, Paz ML, Leoni J, Sunlight Effects on Immune System: Is There Something Else in addition to UV-Induced Immunosuppression?, Biomed Res Int., 2016;2016:1934518, doi: 10.1155/2016/1934518, Epub 2016 Dec 13, PMID: 28070504; PMCID: PMC5187459: https://doi.org/10.1155%2F2016%2F1934518.

Blackout Solutions

Time To Turn Off the Lights: Biohack Your Sleep By Keeping Things Dark

Studies show that sleeping in total darkness makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. So, this is a message for all biohackers: Put down your phone and turn off the TV at least an hour before you hit the pillow.

Dark image of a woman stretching her arms outward while seated on a bed in a dark bedroom.

No Night Lights Needed for Biohackers

Dark sleeping is exactly what it sounds like — sleeping in the dark. Just like sunlight during the day is important for energy levels, having an entirely dark environment at night is important for getting quality sleep.1

Darkness tells the body that it’s time to sleep. Sleeping in total darkness can improve sleep quality, promote a healthy weight, and help prevent diabetes and heart issues.2

Start This Biohack a Few Hours Before Bed

Start decreasing your amount of light exposure a few hours before bed by dimming the lights and turning off all electronics. When the time comes to go to bed, make sure the bedroom is completely dark. 

Blackout curtains can be used to block out light pollution. This is especially important for people living in the city. Metropolitan areas have high light pollution at night, which is extremely harmful to sleep quality. 

Eye masks can also be used to block light while sleeping.3 They are a great option for anyone who travels often and may not always have blackout curtains available. Weighted eye masks can be used to increase relaxation while providing a dark sleeping environment. 

Follow a No Phone and No TV Rule to Optimize Sleep

High levels of artificial light in the bedroom at night negatively impact a person’s ability to fall and stay asleep.4 Looking at a phone right before bed, or worse, having the TV on while falling asleep, prevents the body from naturally producing melatonin, thus causing sleep issues. 

If you’re trying to improve your sleep quality naturally, sleeping in the dark is one of the first steps you should take. Sleep supplements and other biohacking tools are incredibly useful in improving sleep quality, but if light exposure at night is preventing the body from producing melatonin, other tools won’t be able to work up to their full potential.

“You want it dark. The kind of darkness that exists at the end of a lava tube cave.”

Dr. Kirk Parsley

Performance Leader

Illustrated row of different colors and designs of eye masks for sleep.

Window Coverings

Sleepout

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Enhance your sleep quality with the Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain 2.0. Crafted from exclusive 100% blackout fabric, it offers superior thermal insulation and noise reduction. Installation is a breeze, fitting on any window in seconds. Whether you or your child wake up too early, this curtain ensures complete darkness, allowing you to sleep in whenever you prefer.

Moon Dream

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Moondream Thermal Blackout Curtains offer a dual solution for maintaining optimal room temperatures year-round and reducing energy bills by up to 46%. These curtains feature innovative fabric that reflects heat to keep interiors warm in winter and cool in summer. Additionally, they function as blackout curtains, blocking up to 100% of light.

Eye Masks

Manta Sleep

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Experience superior sleep with Manta Sleep Masks – the epitome of sleep quality. Designed for ultimate comfort and effectiveness, each mask caters to side sleepers with exceptional breathability and ventilation. Enjoy 100% blackout, relief from eye pressure, and uninterrupted sleep. Manta Sleep Masks, represented by bold colors, embody their mission’s strength, providing a sensation of wearing nothing at all. Elevate your sleep experience to its zenith.

WHOOP

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The bestselling WHOOP Sleep Mask is back, upgraded based on your feedback. Its improved strap enhances comfort and adjustability, fitting various face shapes to effectively block light. An internal WHOOP study showcased a 6% average increase in REM sleep, emphasizing its role in recovery, immune function, and fitness progress. Elevate your sleep game with the WHOOP Sleep Mask, designed for optimal light blocking and enhanced performance day and night.

Nidra

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Sleep deeply and undisturbed with the Nidra Deep Rest Sleep Mask, whether you’re in bed, on a flight, or traveling. This lightweight and comfortable mask blocks out all light and visual stimuli, promoting uninterrupted rest. It’s ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and won’t smudge eye makeup or disturb your eyelashes. Wake up feeling refreshed and energized after a full night’s sleep with this mask that ensures complete darkness and comfort. Say goodbye to sleep disruptions caused by light exposure and enjoy deep, restful sleep with the Nidra mask.

Asutra

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The Asutra Silk Eye Mask is a versatile accessory for relaxation. Made of 100% silk, it features a lavender-scented, weighted eye pillow filled with lavender and flax seeds, perfect for sleep, meditation, and headache relief. Tennis great Venus Williams loves it for better sleep. The included cooling gel eye mask reduces puffiness. With an adjustable strap and curved design, it offers comfort and relaxation for better sleep. Oprah endorsed it as one of her Favorite Things for 2022, making it a fantastic gift option. Enjoy pampering and soothing comfort with the Asutra Silk Eye Mask.

Pillows

Ostrich Pillow

Experience the transformative power of the cocoon-like pillow that blocks out light and noise, allowing for complete focus on yourself. This revolutionary nap pillow is versatile, perfect for use in your home office, living room, or bed. It offers absolute comfort and a cozy retreat to disconnect from the world and prioritize self-care whenever you need it.

Ostrichpillow original napping pillow in blue and gray.

Sleep Crown

Sleep Crown offers a unique over-the-head pillow designed for better sleep. Created by a Restorative Yoga Teacher, it provides three key benefits: blocking light, muffling sound, and offering gentle head pressure for relaxation. Sleep Crown aims to nurture and provide a cozy, tucked-in feeling for uninterrupted sleep, promoting well-being and creativity. Experience the supreme relaxation and comfort of Sleep Crown for a restful night’s sleep.

Sleep Crown Classic over-the-head pillow with a black pillowcase.

1. Cho Y, Ryu SH, Lee BR, Kim KH, Lee E, Choi J, Effects of artificial light at night on human health: A literature review of observational and experimental studies applied to exposure assessment, Chronobiol Int. 2015;32(9):1294-310, doi: 10.3109/07420528.2015.1073158, Epub 2015 Sep 16, PMID: 26375320: https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2015.1073158.

2. Minjee Kim, Thanh-Huyen Vu, Matthew B Maas, Rosemary I Braun, Michael S Wolf, Till Roenneberg, Martha L Daviglus, Kathryn J Reid, Phyllis C Zee, Light at night in older age is associated with obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, Sleep, 2022, zsac130: https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsac130.

3. Akpinar RB, Aksoy M, Kant E, Effect of earplug/eye mask on sleep and delirium in intensive care patients, Nurs Crit Care, 2022 Jul;27(4):537-545, doi: 10.1111/nicc.12741, Epub 2022 Jan 12, PMID: 35021263: https://doi.org/10.1111/nicc.12741.

4. Billings ME, Hale L, Johnson DA, Physical and Social Environment Relationship With Sleep Health and Disorders, Chest, 2020 May;157(5):1304-1312, doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.12.002, Epub 2019 Dec 21, PMID: 31870910; PMCID: PMC7268445: https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.chest.2019.12.002.

red Light Therapy

Overcast, Dark Days Call for Light Therapy to Biohack Better Sleep

If the season or your schedule disrupts your body’s internal clock, light therapy could be a great solution to improve your sleep. This practice involves using artificial light to biohack the circadian rhythm and improve your mood, too.

Elderly woman looking at a therapy light.

Phototherapy Tools Can Improve Sleep

Spending time in the sun is important for sleep quality and general health.1 Nevertheless, most people spend the majority of the day indoors. For some people, it may be impossible to get enough natural sunlight, especially during the winter. If getting enough natural light isn’t an option for you, light therapy may be your answer to better sleep and health. 

Light therapy, also called phototherapy, uses artificial lights to mimic natural light and enhance health. It improves sleep issues by regulating the circadian rhythm.3 Lack of sunlight can cause various health problems, including insomnia. Using light therapy during the day will help correct any circadian dysfunction, thus giving you better chances at a good night’s rest. 

Lightboxes and Full-Spectrum Lights

Lightboxes and lamps with LED or full spectrum lights are an easy way to increase light exposure during the day. They can be set up almost anywhere, including on your desk. Using these light therapy tools can help improve sleep and mood,4 especially in the winter when natural sunlight isn’t readily available.5

There are also alarm clocks that utilize full-spectrum light to help wake the body naturally, increasing energy in the morning and making it easier to sleep at night.6 

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps

Himalayan salt lamps are a great tool to light a bedroom because they emit a warm light, which is better for sleep than blue light.7 They also known to improve sleep,8 mood, and other health issues by enhancing air quality.9

Portable Light Therapy Boxes

Portable light therapy boxes are another tool on the market that can be used to help combat jet lag when traveling. It’s no secret that changing time zones disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle. Using light therapy helps the body adjust quicker to the new environment.10

“Wherever you are, whatever environment you’re in, and whatever part of the season, if you can’t get natural light, then you can replicate it.”

Nick Littlehales

High Performance Coach

Row of light therapy options including various salt lamps and amber-colored light bulbs.

Lamps

Gamma

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The Revive lamp offers 20,000 hours of flicker-free 670nm red-light to enhance sleep quality and boost daytime mental and physical performance. With 360° touch control, it’s easy to operate. Simply touch the dimmer panel to turn it on/off and adjust brightness. You can use it an hour before sleep or overnight, with other lights turned off for best results. Its sleek design fits any decor, and its compact size makes it versatile for placement in different rooms.

Block Blue Light

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The Twilight Red Light Lamp is a portable, rechargeable lamp that offers warm, relaxing lighting without blue and green light. It has three brightness settings and touch control for adjusting brightness. The lamp’s proprietary light spectrum is flicker-free, low EMF, and emits a soothing sun orange/red light, making it suitable for various activities, including bedtime reading and late-night work, without disrupting melatonin levels.

Light Boxes

Joov

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Joovv’s mission is to enhance people’s strength, balance, happiness, and overall health through innovative light-based solutions. They’re dedicated to optimizing the human body’s potential and addressing modern indoor lifestyle imbalances. Their at-home light therapy devices are designed to empower everyone in the family to access the benefits of light for better well-being. Committed to safety and effectiveness, they lead in educating, researching, and innovating light therapy solutions to promote a healthier lifestyle.

True Light

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Introducing the TrueLight® Energy Square 2.4, a versatile LED Light Therapy device. This sleek, durable square offers Red, Yellow, Deep Red, and Near Infrared LED therapies for skin rejuvenation, muscle recovery, and better sleep. It’s designed for targeted treatment at home or in the office. Light therapy’s benefits include collagen production, scar reduction, and pain relief. With 20-minute sessions, two to three times a week, you can improve skin health and muscle recovery. Explore its four different light settings and enjoy a quiet, EMF-free experience.

BonCharge

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Red light therapy involves the use of devices like those from BonCharge, which utilize low-energy red and near-infrared (NIR) light waves emitted by LED bulbs. These wavelengths of light, similar to sunlight but without UV exposure, penetrate the skin’s surface, reaching depths of 5 to 10cm. While red light waves affect the skin’s upper layers, NIR light with longer wavelengths targets deeper tissues, muscles, and bones. The most studied frequencies for red light therapy are 660nm (visible red light) and 850nm (invisible near infrared light).

Mito Red Light

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Mito Red’s MitoPRO series is a scientifically driven innovation, offering four highly bio-active wavelengths (630nm, 660nm – Red, and 830nm, 850nm – Near Infrared). This unique combination maximizes cytochrome c oxidase activation for enhanced effectiveness. You have complete flexibility to use Red or Near Infrared individually or simultaneously, with a digital control panel featuring a timer for convenience. Additionally, there are various size options and stands, providing unparalleled choices to suit your preferences.

Light Bulbs

True Light

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The TrueLight Luna Red™ Sunset BR30 LED bulb is ideal for bedrooms, nurseries, and workspaces, countering the negative impact of blue light on sleep. It offers adjustable light from natural daylight to sunset red (1000K to 3000K), reducing blue light’s interference with melatonin production for improved sleep and circadian rhythm.

BlockBlueLight

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The BlockBlueLight Twilight Bulb is designed for bedtime use in bedrooms and reading lamps. It’s completely free of sleep-disrupting blue and green light, flicker-free, and emits low EMF, ensuring restful sleep. With its proprietary spectrum technology, it replicates sunset colors, signaling your brain to prepare for sleep, promoting a deep and restorative rest.

Hooga

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The Red Sleep Light Bulb offers a soothing, amber-hued light that is 99.94% free of blue spectrum light. This gentle illumination encourages melatonin production in the evening, reducing eye strain and promoting a restful sleep environment. It’s perfect for bedtime reading or as a nightlight for children, emitting quiet, non-flickering light.

CareLamps

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Choose this small customizable Red & Near-Infrared Light device with 12 LEDs and a power cord. It covers a 40cm circular area with selected red (660nm) and near-infrared (850nm) wavelengths, offering various benefits. For versatility, consider the combination model, providing both types of light.

Mats & Beds

Nushape

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Introducing the Nushape Red Light Therapy Mat, a revolutionary device for soothing muscles, relieving pain, and boosting energy. Red light therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light for natural health benefits. This professional-grade mat offers convenience, easy storage, and portability, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing therapy session atop your bed.

PureSculpt

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Introducing PureSculpt® LT Mat for Red Light Therapy at home or by professionals. It’s versatile for the entire body, from head to toe. Professionals can utilize it for facial, body sculpting, and healing treatments. PureSculpt® LT Mat combines Red Light and Infrared therapy within the range of 650nm – 850nm. It can be used alone or in combination with other modalities.

Theia

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Introducing Theia Full Total Body Red Light Therapy Mat – a groundbreaking technology for your well-being. With 2320 LEDs in both 660nm and 850nm wavelengths, it offers a potent red light treatment. Its spacious design covers the entire body, promoting circulation, nutrient delivery, and accelerated healing.

Prism Light Pod

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Prism Light Pod is an advanced full-body red light therapy bed with over 17,000 red and near-infrared LEDs for mitochondrial wellness. It provides 15-minute automated sessions and operates with one button, and its energy-efficient design runs on standard 110V electrical power, reducing costs over its 15-year lifespan.

1. Ondrusova, K., Fatehi, M., Barr, A. et al., Subcutaneous white adipocytes express a light sensitive signaling pathway mediated via a melanopsin/TRPC channel axis, Sci Rep 7, 16332 (2017): https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-16689-4

2. Dodson ER, Zee PC, Therapeutics for Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders, Sleep Med Clin., 2010 Dec;5(4):701-715, doi: 10.1016/j.jsmc.2010.08.001, PMID: 21243069; PMCID: PMC3020104: https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.jsmc.2010.08.001.

3. Van Maanen A, Meijer AM, Van der Heijden KB, Oort FJ, The effects of light therapy on sleep problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Sleep Med Rev., 2016 Oct;29:52-62, doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2015.08.009, Epub 2015 Sep 9, PMID: 2660631: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2015.08.009.

4. Pjrek E, Friedrich ME, Cambioli L, Dold M, Jäger F, Komorowski A, Lanzenberger R, Kasper S, Winkler D, The Efficacy of Light Therapy in the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Psychother Psychosom., 2020;89(1):17-24, doi: 10.1159/000502891, Epub 2019 Oct 1, PMID: 31574513: https://doi.org/10.1159/000502891

5. Franzen PL, Buysse DJ, Sleep disturbances and depression: risk relationships for subsequent depression and therapeutic implications, Dialogues Clin Neurosci., 2008;10(4):473-81, doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2008.10.4/plfranzen, PMID: 19170404; PMCID: PMC3108260: https://doi.org/10.31887%2FDCNS.2008.10.4%2Fplfranzen.

6. Tähkämö L, Partonen T, Pesonen AK, Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm, Chronobiol Int., 2019 Feb;36(2):151-170, doi: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773, Epub 2018 Oct 12, PMID: 30311830: https://doi.org/10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773.

7. Shechter A, Kim EW, St-Onge MP, Westwood AJ. Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Jan;96:196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.10.015. Epub 2017 Oct 21. PMID: 29101797; PMCID: PMC5703049. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703049/.

8. Ruiqi Liu, Zhiwei Lian, Li Lan, Xiaolei Qian, Kejian Chen, Kaisheng Hou, Xia Li, Effects of negative oxygen ions on sleep quality, Procedia Engineering, 2017, Volume 205, Pages 2980-2986, ISSN 1877-7058: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2017.10.219.

9. Jiang SY, Ma A, Ramachandran S, Negative Air Ions and Their Effects on Human Health and Air Quality Improvement, Int J Mol Sci., 2018 Sep 28;19(10):2966, doi: 10.3390/ijms19102966, PMID: 30274196; PMCID: PMC6213340: https://doi.org/10.3390%2Fijms19102966.

10. Boulos Z, Macchi MM, Stürchler MP, Stewart KT, Brainard GC, Suhner A, Wallace G, Steffen R, Light visor treatment for jet lag after westward travel across six time zones, Aviat Space Environ Med., 2002 Oct;73(10):953-63, PMID: 12398256: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12398256/.

BLUE LIGHT

Blue Light Is the Ultimate Opponent of a Good Night’s Sleep — Biohack It Away

Blue light, which is the glow emitted by your smartphone, laptop, and other electronic devices, tricks the mind and body into thinking it’s daytime even when it’s time to sleep. Use biohacking solutions to make sure you win the battle and get a good night’s sleep.

Woman wearing blue light blocking glasses while using a smartphone.

Too Much Blue Light Can Impact Your Sleep

Blue light exposure comes from electronic devices such as phones, computers, and televisions. People living in large cities may also be exposed to it through large digital billboards. The most commonly used type of light bulb, LEDs, also emit blue light.

Blue light is not innately bad. That said, when it’s overused, problems arise. It can negatively affect sleep by tricking the body into thinking it’s daytime,1 therefore preventing the production of melatonin– which is crucial for sleep.2 Changing nighttime habits and wearing blue light-blocking products can improve sleep by reducing exposure to this artificial light.3

Just Switch Off the Electronics at Night

The easiest way to reduce blue light exposure is to switch electronics to night mode or simply not use them at night. Most computers and phones now offer a night mode option that reduces screen brightness and blue light exposure. 

Blue Light Blockers Are a Great Biohack All Day and Night

Blue light blocker glasses and screen protectors also help reduce exposure. They work by preventing the eyes from absorbing blue light, leaving your natural melatonin production undisturbed.4 They should be used during the day, and at night, because excessive blue light at any time of the day can cause eye damage.5

Recent studies have shown that blue light absorption through the skin is also damaging.6 In light of this, beauty companies have recently started offering products designed to curb the harmful effects of blue light on the skin. 

Reducing blue light exposure after the sun goes down will make falling and staying asleep a lot easier. If you can, it’s best to avoid it entirely at night. However, if that isn’t possible, any level of lesser exposure can drastically improve your sleep quality.

“For the first time in human history, we have near-complete control over the quality, quantity, and timing of light.”

Dr. Satchin Panda

Professor & Author

Swath of the blue light spectrum from warm on the left to cold on the right.

Blue Light Glasses

True Dark

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Enhance your sleep with TrueDark® Twilights Classic eyewear. Featuring dark red lenses, these glasses signal to your body that it’s nighttime, promoting quicker and deeper sleep. Ideal for activities before bedtime and managing time-zone shifts while traveling. Block 99% of sleep-disrupting wavelengths for maximum restful benefits.

Sunski

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Protect your eyes from blue light and reduce eye strain with our blue light glasses, so you can enjoy happier and healthier eyes for outdoor activities. We prioritize sustainability, making frames with plastic-free packaging and recycled materials. Plus, our frames come with a lifetime warranty, ensuring your satisfaction for as long as you own them.

Warby Parker

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Blue light glasses with advanced filtering lenses are designed to reduce the impact of screen time on sleep. They effectively filter out more blue light than standard polycarbonate or high-index options, making them ideal for days spent in front of screens. You can easily add these lenses to any frame, whether or not you need a prescription, for just $50.

Zenni

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Zenni, in today’s digital world, screens, artificial light, and the sun are unavoidable. But Zenni can defend their eyes against excessive blue light exposure with Blokz® lenses. As essential as sunscreen is for their skin, Blokz® lenses protect Zenni’s eyes and promote better sleep, empowering them to see, work, feel, and look their best.

ROKA

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ROKA Rise eyewear uniquely targets the problematic part of blue light known as Zombie light, found around 455 nanometers, which negatively affects sleep. Unlike other “Blue Blocking” glasses, ROKA prioritizes blocking this specific wavelength, ensuring better sleep quality.

Blue Light Screen Protectors

EyeJust

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EyeJust is a scientifically proven blue light blocking solution that significantly reduces eye strain and improves sleep, with results published in the Oxford Academic International Journal. UC Irvine Eye Institute tests confirm it outperforms other screen protectors in blocking blue light. EyeJust also offers a two-year warranty for cracked or damaged protectors.

Ocushield

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Ocushield Anti-Blue Light Filter enhances sleep, protects eyes and skin from harmful blue light, and prevents digital eye strain and headaches. It ensures true colors, privacy, and features anti-bacterial and anti-glare coatings. Developed by UK Optometrists, it’s a Class 1 Medical Device accredited by the MHRA for a better screen experience.

EMF Protection Blankets

Nu Organics

This premium organic cotton blanket is lined with anti-radiation shielding fabric, providing protection from wireless radiation at home or on the go. It’s versatile, suitable for travel, sleeping, pregnancy, and for safeguarding babies and children. Health experts emphasize the vulnerability of early childhood and pregnant women to cell phone and wireless radiation due to their ongoing growth and development.

Rolled beige Nu Organics anti-radiation EMF protection cotton blanket.

Defender Shield

The Defender Shield EMF Radiation Protection Bamboo Blanket provides hypoallergenic comfort while shielding you from device and ambient wireless EMF radiation. Enhance your protection with the DefenderPad Duvet Cover, a custom-fit, machine-washable blanket cover.

Folded gray DefenderShield EMF Protection Anti-Radiation Bamboo Blanket.

Bedside Tech

Conscious Spaces

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The Waveguard Qi-Technologies Qi-Shield™ EMF device offers a calming presence at home, work, or on the go. Ideal for various settings, including offices, bedrooms, vehicles, and travel, its technology has been scientifically tested at the BION Institute. The Qi-Shield provides coverage in both stationary and mobile states, with a charge lasting around 5 years and the option to recharge. Safe for adults, children, and pets.

Waveblock

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WaveBlock offers a lab-tested and proven sticker for cell phones, effectively reducing potential radiation exposure. Easy to use, simply apply it to your phone’s back and cover it with your case for increased confidence while carrying your phone. Protect yourself from potential radiation exposure with WaveBlock’s lab-tested sticker for cell phones. It’s a convenient and reliable solution for your peace of mind.

1. Cajochen C, Frey S, Anders D, Späti J, Bues M, Pross A, Mager R, Wirz-Justice A, Stefani O, Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance, J Appl Physiol (1985), 2011 May;110(5):1432-8, doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00165.2011, Epub 2011 Mar 17, PMID: 21415172: https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00165.2011.

2. West KE, Jablonski MR, Warfield B, Cecil KS, James M, Ayers MA, Maida J, Bowen C, Sliney DH, Rollag MD, Hanifin JP, Brainard GC, Blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans, J Appl Physiol (1985), 2011 Mar;110(3):619-26, doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01413.2009, Epub 2010 Dec 16, PMID: 21164152: https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01413.2009.

3. Esaki Y, Takeuchi I, Tsuboi S, Fujita K, Iwata N, Kitajima T, A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive blue-blocking glasses for the treatment of sleep and circadian rhythm in patients with bipolar disorder, Bipolar Disord, 2020 Nov;22(7):739-748, doi: 10.1111/bdi.12912, Epub 2020 Apr 20, PMID: 32276301: https://doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12912.

4. Shechter A, Kim EW, St-Onge MP, Westwood AJ, Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial, J Psychiatr Res., 2018 Jan;96:196-202, doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.10.015, Epub 2017 Oct 21, PMID: 29101797; PMCID: PMC5703049: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.10.015.

5. Ratnayake, K., Payton, J.L., Lakmal, O.H. et al., Blue light excited retinal intercepts cellular signaling, 2018, Sci Rep 8, 10207: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28254-8

6. Arjmandi N, Mortazavi G, Zarei S, Faraz M, Mortazavi SAR, Can Light Emitted from Smartphone Screens and Taking Selfies Cause Premature Aging and Wrinkles?, J Biomed Phys Eng. 2018 Dec 1;8(4):447-452, PMID: 30568934; PMCID: PMC6280109: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30568934.

7. Tosini G, Ferguson I, Tsubota K, Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology, Mol Vis. 2016 Jan 24;22:61-72, PMID: 26900325; PMCID: PMC4734149: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26900325.

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Biohacking Sleep Pioneers

Sleep Experts

Broaden your understanding of sleep science by tracking the latest findings from these accomplished specialists.

Dr. Michael Breus

Black and white photo of biohacker Dr. Michael Breus on a brown background.

Dr. Michael Breus is a renowned psychologist and author who advocates for high-quality sleep to improve overall performance and productivity. Known as “The Sleep Doctor,” this biohacker holds the distinction of being a diplomate and fellow of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He has leveraged his knowledge to launch The Sleep Doctor, a website that helps people optimize their health by improving their sleep. Through his work, he has also shed light on the impact of sleep on fat burn, metabolism, cravings, and appetite.

In recognition of his contributions, Reader’s Digest named him the “Best Sleep Specialist in California” in 2021, and he was also among the 10 most influential people in Sleep in 2018. Dr. Breus has made numerous media appearances, including CNN, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Insider Business, and Oprah. Moreover, he actively engages with his audience on his YouTube and Instagram channels as well as through appearances on various podcasts.

Dr. Matthew Walker

Black and white photo of biohacker Dr. Matthew Walker on a dark blue background.

Dr. Walker is a renowned neuroscientist with a background in neurophysiology. He holds a degree in neuroscience from Nottingham University and a PhD from the Medical Research Council in London. After serving as a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he became a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

As the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, Dr. Walker has received numerous accolades from prestigious organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has conducted extensive research on the impact of sleep on human health and brain function, studying both healthy and affected populations. With over 100 scientific publications, Dr. Walker is also the host of the popular Matt Walker Podcast and a TED speaker with over 1 million views. He is frequently featured on major media outlets such as CBS and the BBC.

Biohacking Sleep FAQs

Biohacking Sleep with Light

Harnessing the power of light therapy and darkness for a better night’s sleep.

  • How does natural light exposure during the day impact biohacking sleep with light?

    Natural light exposure during the day plays a vital role in regulating the body’s internal clock and promoting healthy sleep-wake cycles. By getting ample sunlight exposure during the daytime, especially in the morning, individuals can enhance alertness, mood, and sleep quality, ultimately supporting biohacking efforts for better sleep.

  • How does creating a dark sleep environment contribute to biohacking sleep with light?

    Creating a dark sleep environment is crucial for biohacking sleep with light. Darkness signals the body to produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness and regulates sleep. By minimizing exposure to artificial light sources and using blackout curtains or eye masks to block external light, individuals can improve sleep quality and enhance biohacking efforts.

  • What are the effects of blue light on biohacking sleep with light?

    Blue light, primarily emitted by electronic devices and energy-efficient lighting, can disrupt sleep patterns and suppress the release of melatonin. Minimizing exposure to blue light in the evening, especially before bed, can support biohacking sleep with light. Using blue light-blocking glasses or enabling night mode settings on electronic devices can mitigate its negative effects.

  • Can biohacking sleep with light involve incorporating dim lighting before bedtime?

    Yes, incorporating dim lighting before bedtime is a biohacking strategy for improving sleep with light. Dimming the lights in the evening signals the body to prepare for sleep by enhancing melatonin production. Using dimmable light bulbs, warm-colored lighting, or candlelight can create a soothing atmosphere and promote relaxation for better sleep quality.

  • How does exposure to natural light in the morning impact biohacking sleep with light?

    Exposure to natural light in the morning is essential for regulating circadian rhythms and enhancing sleep with light. Morning light exposure helps synchronize the body’s internal clock, promoting alertness and resetting sleep-wake cycles. Stepping outside for a brief walk or opening curtains to allow natural light into the room can aid in biohacking sleep.

  • Can biohacking sleep with light involve using red or amber lights in the evening?

    Yes, using red or amber lights in the evening is a biohacking technique for optimizing sleep with light. These warm-colored lights have minimal impact on melatonin production, allowing for a more natural transition into sleep. Swapping regular light bulbs with red or amber bulbs in the bedroom or using dim red nightlights can support better sleep quality.

  • What are a biohacker’s view on using light therapy for biohacking sleep?

    Biohackers see the benefits of light therapy for biohacking sleep. Light therapy involves exposure to specific wavelengths of light, such as bright white light or specific colors, to regulate circadian rhythms and enhance sleep quality. Incorporating light therapy devices, such as light boxes or dawn simulators, can aid in optimizing sleep-wake patterns.

  • How does exposure to bright light in the morning affect biohacking sleep with light?

    Exposure to bright light in the morning stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes wakefulness and mood regulation. This helps establish a healthy sleep-wake rhythm. Opening curtains, going for an early morning walk, or using light therapy devices that mimic natural sunlight can optimize biohacking sleep with light.

  • What role does minimizing screen time before bed play in biohacking sleep with light?

    Minimizing screen time before bed is crucial for biohacking sleep with light. The blue light emitted by electronic devices suppresses melatonin and disrupts sleep. Establishing a digital curfew, avoiding screens at least an hour before bed, and using apps or settings that reduce blue light emission support optimal sleep quality and biohacking efforts.

  • How does creating a sleep environment with soft, warm lighting promote biohacking?

    Using low-wattage bulbs or warm-colored light sources, such as salt lamps or candles, can create a soothing ambiance conducive to sleep. This helps prepare the body for rest and enhances sleep quality.

Biohacking Sleep Videos

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Biohacking Sleep Resources

Additional Biohacking Sleep Insight

Discover podcasts, YouTube channels, websites, apps, and more to enhance your knowledge and empower your biohacking journey.

Philips Hue

Philips Hue helps biohack sleep by offering customizable lighting solutions that align with your natural sleep-wake cycle.

With Philips Hue, you can create a personalized dawn simulation, gradually brightening the lights to mimic the rising sun and wake up naturally. When it’s time to wind down, the lights can be adjusted to create a relaxing atmosphere, signaling the body to prepare for sleep.

Philips Hue’s lighting experts have designed light recipes based on scientific research, offering options like Energize, Concentrate, Read, and Relax to support different activities throughout the day. By integrating smart lighting into your daily routine, you can optimize your sleep and overall wellbeing.

Philips-Hue.com

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SleepScore Labs

SleepScore is a sleep improvement platform that utilizes data intelligence to provide personalized insights for better sleep and overall well-being.

Their app offers accurate sleep analysis by tracking breathing rate and body movement, without recording any audio. Users receive science-backed advice to improve sleep and can track their progress over time.

With a vision to be a trusted resource for companies and consumers, SleepScore combines data-driven approaches with biohacking principles.

Their goal is to empower billions of people to achieve their best sleep and live more fulfilling lives. SleepScore also offers a library of sleep articles and educational resources for further knowledge.

SleepScore.com