by Laura Falls on 18 Jun 2015

Organised by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep 2015 was one the world’s largest events dedicated to sleep medicine and research.  Held in Seattle, the event was attended by thousands of sleep physicians and researchers.

These are the top questions and answers from the event.

Q. When do you wear Re-Timer for and for how long?
A. Re-Timer is worn for 30 minutes per day. The time of day depends on what you would like to change. We have jet lag and sleep and jet lag calculators on our website which provide customized schedules. If someone has delayed sleep, they would benefit wearing Re-Timer in the morning when they wake up (and then earlier each day) for at least 3 days.

Q. How is it charged and how long will it last once charged?
A. Re-Timer is charged using a USB cable and will remain charged for 4 hours (8 days of use per charge).

Q. What is the evidence base?
A. Since 1987, we have been researching the ability of light to re-time the circadian rhythm. We have published 4 peer-reviewed research papers using Re-Timer prototypes. If you would like copies of the full journal articles please contact us and we will email these to you.

Q. Why does Re-Timer use green light?
A. The colour is blue-green and peak wavelength 500nm. This balances the safety concerns of blue light with the efficacy of the shorter blue and green wavelengths. We have completed extensive product testing on both optical safety and efficacy.

Q. How does it compare to a light box and what is the lux?
A. Re-Timer is a portable and convenient solution which increases user compliance to treatment. Re-Timer emits 506 Lux lm/m² and 230 µW/cm² measured at the corneal surface. A standard light box emitting 10,000 lux may only produce 98 lux, Anderson et al. (2009) to 398 lux, Glickman et al. (2009), at the corneal surface.

Q. Why is the light source below the eye?
A. The angle of light has been chosen to ensure the maximum amount of light enters the eyes. Light mounted from above is often obliterated by dropping eye fixation below the horizon (i.e. to read, guiding walking, and many other practical situations). The evidence about retinal distribution of the ipRGCells is that they are widely distributed into upper and lower hemi-retinas.

by Laura Falls on 11 Mar 2015

In 2001, Maarten van der Weijden, a Dutch long distance and marathon swimmer, was confronted with cancer and his career was likely to be over.

Fighting against cancer he made his comeback in 2003. In 2006, he intensified his training regime and started using morning bright light therapy. Then in 2008, he won an Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

To him, light therapy made all the difference.

“Light therapy was crucial in winning the golden medal”, said Maarten van der Weijden.

“Within a month my performance in the morning increased spectacularly”, he said.

Maarten van der Weijden used light therapy to shift his circadian rhythm and to achieve a ‘speedier wakefulness’.

“The first thing I do is put my glasses on and light up”.

The below image shows the original article on page 3 of the well respected newspaper de Volkskrant in The Netherlands. A short online version about Maarten van der Weijden and his experience using light therapy is also available (please note it is in Dutch so you may need to click on the translate button).

Maarten-van-der-Weijden

f.lux is a free App which filters out the blue light from your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Why you may ask? Exposure to light from screens at night slows melatonin production which disrupts our sleep rhythms, making it hard to fall asleep.

Trouble falling asleep, known as sleep onset insomnia, might be more common than you think. The exact prevalence is not known, however it is estimated to be 7% to 16% in adolescents and young adults and is seen in about 10% of patients presenting to sleep clinics with chronic insomnia.

Using f.lux can adapt the colour of your screen to the time of day. For example, during sundown f.lux will gradually turn your screen a tint of orange (see image below)

f.lux before and after

Image: Normal screen – left, with f.lux App – right. Source

Both Re-Timer and f.lux place a lot of importance on light exposure – it’s timing and wavelengths. If you have trouble falling asleep, we recommend green-blue light exposure in the morning and avoiding blue-green light at night. If you fall asleep too early, bright light at night is helpful.

The team at f.lux are knowledgeable and their App has been downloaded more than one million times, so we were honoured that F.lux wrote a review about Re-Timer.

Here is what they had to say… f.lux Re-Timer Review.

Woman cures insomnia and finally gets a good night’s sleep thanks to hi-tech eyewear that emits green light

  • Leticia Lewis, 54, suffered from insomnia for years
  • She would often find herself wide awake by 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.
  • As a result, she felt utter exhaustion and wasn’t able to do the things she once enjoyed
  • She started using Re-Timer sleep glasses over a year ago and is now enjoying month after month of solid sleep
  • The glasses work by shining LED lights into the eyes – this mimics natural light, helping to regulate the body clock

After years of disrupted sleep and feelings of utter exhaustion, Leticia Lewis is finally getting a good night’s rest. And she owes it all to a new pair of glasses.

“I was willing to try anything,” said the 54-year-old resident of Spokane, Wash. “It sounded strange but I thought, ‘Who knows? Maybe there’s something to this.’”

Called Re-Timer, the eyewear doesn’t correct her vision. Rather, the pioneering product, which resembles a cool pair of hi-tech goggles, can improve sleep and reduce tiredness by helping to re-time sleep rhythms.

How it works is simple. Using a patented technology, the glasses emit a UV-free green light that mimics the effect of sunlight and helps to reset a person’s body clock, enabling the body to recognize when to be awake and when to sleep.

When Leticia’s husband, Randy, 58, first showed the glasses to her on-line, she was sceptical and yet hopeful at the same time.

“It made sense that my cycle could be off,” said Leticia, an elementary school teacher and piano instructor.

“I was at the point where I couldn’t function throughout the day if I didn’t have a short power nap.”

Leticia’s sleep troubles began several years ago. She would fall asleep at 10:00 p.m., only to find herself wide awake by 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. After months of lying in bed fully alert, she was in the habit of getting up to do things, returning to sleep at 6:00 a.m.

Her sleep patterns were so debilitating, she found she didn’t have the energy to hike, bike and garden like she used to. Every day before heading off to work, she’d have to have a nap.

“Ever since I was a young child, I was one of those people who would go to sleep and not move until the sun came up,” recalled Leticia. “I would get up and go, go, go. It had been so long since that happened, I couldn’t remember what it felt like.”

Before purchasing her Re-Timer glasses in June, 2014, Leticia tried everything from natural remedies like melatonin, lavender baths and relaxing sounds, to no television or computer screens before bed, and finally prescribed sleeping pills.

“I had tried everything.”

What she likes about Re-Timer, is the simplicity. Developed through 25 years of research by university professor and world renowned sleep psychologist Professor Leon Lack, the Re-Timer glasses are completely portable so users can go about their daily routines while using them.

Until recently, people have relied on light boxes – boxed units with a side of translucent glass or plastic that contains an electric light – to get the visual bright exposure they need, which meant they had to sit close to the box daily and look at it for about 30-60 minutes to benefit, according to Professor Lack. With Re-Timer glasses, people have a more convenient and effective way to successfully shake off insomnia.

“The Re-Timer glasses are so easy to use – all you have to do is go on the website and punch in your current sleep cycle, and it tells you when to start wearing the glasses and for how long,” she explained, noting that the schedule will be different for each individual.

3711For Leticia, it was a matter of wearing the glasses for 30 minutes each night, starting at 10:00 p.m. and gradually moving forward from 10:30 to 11:00 to 11:30 p.m. and so on. By the third night, she was falling asleep and staying that way, and within just a few weeks, she no longer needed the glasses at all, enjoying month after month of solid sleep from June to November. What’s more, she has regained her energy and is once again enjoying outdoor activities.

“Re-Timer gave my wife her life back,” said Randy, who works in the pharmaceutical industry. “It’s an amazing product. We’re both very happy and the best part is we’re doing things together again.”

This winter, Randy decided to try the glasses himself as a way to beat the seasonal blues. By wearing the glasses for just 30 minutes after waking each morning, he said he feels rejuvenated.

“I feel more awake during the day and then I sleep better at night,” he said. “I don’t have a problem in the summer, but in the winter, I have a hard time waking up and getting going.”

The couple is so thrilled with their investment in Re-Timer, that their only regret is not trying the glasses sooner. Looking forward, they plan to use them on an upcoming trip to Australia and will wear the glasses in-flight to help combat jet lag. Both find the glasses very well designed and comfortable to wear.

At home, every now and then, Leticia finds her sleep pattern starts slipping into old habits. When it does happen, she uses the glasses to reset. “It was an investment that has been worth every penny,” she said.

“There’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep. I finally found my answer in Re-Timer.”

 

About Re-Timer

Re-Timer was developed at Flinders University following 25 years of University research. Worn for 30 minutes a day, the glasses adjust the body clock to help with sleep problems related to sleep-onset insomnia, early-morning awakening insomnia, the winter blues and jet lag. The glasses come with a 60 day money back guarantee and can be purchased from this website.

Leticia’s experience is similar to that of many users, including Penny Palmer. Read about Penny’s story in her interview with Daily Mail UK here

 

(CTA – banner to buy now similar to that on home page – with less text)

The 23rd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) was recently held in Bologna. ESRS is Europe’s largest event dedicated to sleep medicine and research, and it was attended by close to 2,000 researchers, physicians and industry professionals.

These are the top questions and answers from the event.

Q. Why does Re-Timer use green light?
A. The peak wavelength is 500nm which is cyan in colour. The light contains both green and blue wavelengths. Our research has shown this colour to be just as effective at achieving a circadian phase shift as shorter (blue) wavelengths.  This colour was also chosen to balance safety concerns and public perceptions of blue light, with the efficacy of the shorter blue and green wavelengths. We have completed extensive product testing on both optical safety and efficacy.*

Q. What is the evidence base?
A. Since 1987, we have been researching the ability of light to re-time the circadian rhythm. There are 4 peer-reviewed research papers using Re-Timer prototypes and 2 peer-reviewed research papers published using the current model of the Re-Timer device. If you would like copies of the full journal articles please contact us and we will email these to you.

Q. How does it compare to a light box and what is the lux?
A. Re-Timer is a portable and convenient solution which increases user compliance to treatment. Re-Timer emits 506 Lux lm/m² and 230 µW/cm² measured at the corneal surface. A standard light box emitting 10,000 lux may only produce 98 lux, Anderson et al. (2009) to 398 lux, Glickman et al. (2009), at the corneal surface.

Q. Why is the light source below the eye?
A. The angle of light has been chosen to ensure the maximum amount of light enters the eyes. Light mounted from above is often obliterated by dropping eye fixation below the horizon (i.e. to read, guiding walking, and many other practical situations). The evidence about retinal distribution of the ipRGCells is that they are widely distributed into upper and lower hemi-retinas.

Q. When do you wear Re-Timer for and for how long?
A. Re-Timer is worn for 30 minutes per day. The time of day depends on what you would like to change. We have jet lag and sleep and jet lag calculators on our website which provide customized schedules. If someone has delayed sleep, they would benefit wearing Re-Timer in the morning when they wake up (and then earlier each day) for at least 3 days.

Q. How is it charged and how long will it last once charged?
A. Re-Timer is charged using a USB cable and will remain charged for 4 hours (8 days of use per charge).

Q. Is Re-Timer a medical device?
A. Yes, Re-Timer is classified as a Class 2a medical device in Europe. 

Q. What support do you provide patients?
A. We provide support via phone, email and our LiveChat service on our website. We also a free eBook available on our website for anyone to download. Called ‘How to Sleep Better‘ the book is written by sleep psychologists Prof Leon Lack and Dr Helen Wright and contains a lots of great information regarding sleep. I highly recommend it.

If your question is not here or you would like further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The next congress will be held in Basel, Switzerland in 2018. We hope to see you there!

 

* Re-Timer meets international ultraviolet and blue light hazard safety standards (standard ICNIRP 7/99 and CIE S009/E: 2002, also known as international standard IEC 62471/Ed. 1 published in 2006), and is safe (no UV light, no power in wavelengths <400nm).

1: Go to sleep and wake up using your internal alarm clock.

Easier said than done, right? The most problematic thing about this statement is what if you don’t know when your natural sleep-wake pattern is timed?

Most people try and regulate a sleep-wake pattern when they want to be asleep or awake, regardless of when their bodies are telling them they should be asleep or awake.  The trick here is to correlate the “want” and the “should”.

First step: Work out your body clock’s natural timing.

Your “biological clock” is a 24 hour cycle that regulates more than just sleep and wakefulness. It controls body temperature, balances hormones, fluids, when you are hungry and other body functions. Spend a few days understanding when your body wakes you up naturally (without an alarm), when you feel hungry, thirsty and when your body naturally wants to fall asleep. Go with the flow.

Then once you have an understanding of these times if it doesn’t match your desired lifestyle, shift it, so you can perform at your best. Research has shown that with the use of light therapy you are able to shift your body clock forwards and backwards.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 1.51.50 PM
Image source: Re-Timer “How to sleep better” eBook

2: Get the perfect power nap.

We have all heard that one person say, “But I have been told!.. You cannot nap in the afternoon!” This is true, if your nanna nap turns into a hibernating sleep for the winter. Sleeping too long in the afternoon mostly likely will have a negative effect on your sleep in the evening. However if you are feeling overwhelmingly tired, the best thing for you to do is have a nap and recharge, make sure it isn’t for too long though. 10 minutes has been found to be the optimal length to nap, it’s not too short, and it’s not too long, it’s just right! New devices like Thim, can be used to achieve the perfect 10-minute power nap.

3: Avoid using electronics before bed.

This is a tough one when we are now living in the day and age of everything electronic. It’s not the electronic device that is going to interfere with your sleep it’s the bright blue screen lights that are glaring us in the eyes. The blue-green wavelength of light is the type of light our body clock uses to regulate itself. Shine too much of it in your eyes before bed and your body will think it’s the morning and the sun just woke up. So don’t completely restrict yourself, be smart about it. Use apps or filters to help block out the blue light, lower the brightness on your screen and TV, sit further back, wear yellow (blue blocker) glasses and perhaps even have a dimmed yellow light glow in the room. Install dimmer lights with a yellow/warm hue, so you are not blinding yourself with bright light when you turn the light switch on in the bathroom or hall way.

image source: www.piedmont.org (healthcare)
Image source: www.piedmont.org (healthcare)

4: Sticking to your bedtime routine.

We understand life can get in the way and occasionally you will have to stay up later one night here or there, or wake up earlier to catch that flight. That is okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit (unless you want it to then you might want to consider shifting your body clock to match like I mentioned in point 1). Your sleep-wake routine should roughly be the same for weekdays and weekends. If every weekend you are completely changing your sleep-wake times it is going to be harder to maintain your natural body clock. If you feel like your body clock is slipping the use of light therapy within the first half hour of waking up can help you to wake up earlier and maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle.

5: Exercise will help you sleep better.

Yes it can, but most definitely don’t go pumping weights or running cross country at the gym 1 hour before bed then come home expecting to fall asleep. Your body clock regulates the time of day you feel the most energetic, this is when you should be doing those types of aerobic exercises. Consequentially providing you with better health benefits and even promote better sleep quality and even deeper sleep, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation. If you do feel like exercising before bed, try relaxing style exercises such as yoga or stretching.

Image Source: expandedconsciousness.com
Image Source: expandedconsciousness.com

Do you have any questions about the above sleeping tips? send us an email here.

A new report has assessed the financial impact poor sleep has in the United States at $411 billion per year. This is more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

“Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and well-being but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers,” report lead author Marco Hafner said in a news release.

“Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference. For example, if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy,” he added.

Companies whom develop sleep assistive products (such as Re-Timer) notice a spike in demand during the cooler months of the year. “Many people notice their sleep and mood deteriorates during the winter months because the days are shorter, and people are not getting enough light to maintain a sound sleep cycle” said Ben Olsen, Director of Re-Timer.

People whom want to know more about improving their sleep can download a free book at the following link: Free eBook Download

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 10.17.45 AM

Insomnia is a common sleep problem. More than 1 in 10 people suffer from insomnia and every year, many of these people discuss their poor sleep with their family doctor. Often, these people are given a prescription for insomnia medication and sent on their way.

In fact, a recent survey of family physicians has shown that pharmacotherapy is by far the most common treatment of insomnia. Sleep medications are prescribed in about 90% of insomnia cases, typically benzodiazepines like Temazepam or ‘z-drugs’ like Zolpidem.

But, insomnia medications are not the best treatment for insomnia. The side effects of these medications can be very serious. Benzodiazepines are associated with excessive drowsiness during the day, headaches, dizziness, depressive mood and impaired coordination. People on z-drugs can perform complex behaviours in their sleep, such as sleep-driving, sleep-eating or even sleep-emailing. While it is recommended that these medications are only used in the short-term, people can rely on them for long-term relief which often leads to addiction.

Insomnia medications may provide short-term relief, but they don’t treat the underlying causes of the insomnia. Using prescription medications for insomnia is like taking pain killers for a broken arm: the drugs alleviate the symptoms, but they don’t fix the break. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT) as the first-line treatment for insomnia because they actually treat the causes of the condition, not just the symptoms.

This all begs the question: why are sleep medications prescribed so often for insomnia? Undoubtedly one of the biggest factors is a lack of resources. Family doctors attempt to treat their patients’ sleep problems in just a 10-15 minute consultation, which is not enough time to convey even the most important aspects of CBT. Our public health system also does not have the resources to provide CBT for everyone with insomnia, as is evident in the ever-growing waitlists for sleep psychologists.

People may also be attracted to prescription medication because they provide immediate relief and are the ‘quick-fix solution’. This may be true for those who are struggling to sleep only in the short-term, but for those with persistent insomnia, are the serious consequences of long-term insomnia medication use really worth it?

This is why home behavioural treatment options like THIM’s Intensive Sleep Retraining are sorely needed. Using evidence-based behaviour therapy to rapidly treat poor sleep will hopefully become common practice and bring people the relief that they desperately seek.

By Hannah Scott

Hannah is a PhD (Research) Candidate from Flinders University

There is a growing number of devices available that claim to accurately track your sleep. But how do they work? And just how accurate are they? It turns out that not all sleep trackers are created equal, and some may be very inaccurate.

There are two types of sleep trackers: the wearables and the nearables. Wearable devices are worn by the user and include everything from watch-like devices to t-shirts, even devices which are placed on your finger like THIM. The nearables include devices which measure sleep from a distance. They incorporate smartphone apps, bed sensors and gadgets which sit on your bedside table.

Many sleep trackers, particularly the wearable kind, measure body movement to track sleep. If the user is moving a lot, it’s assumed they are awake, and if they are not moving much/at all, they must be asleep. This is the most popular method of sleep tracking, particularly by wearable devices.

For an average sleeper, this method is fairly accurate and can paint a reasonable picture of the user’s sleep. However, these devices can be very inaccurate for some people. The most common problem is that the device says they are asleep when they are actually awake, which is typically found for those who spend a lot of time awake in bed whilst staying very still. If this sounds familiar to you, see our recent blog for tips on how to improve your sleep.

Some devices use other methods to track sleep, including snore recognition, temperature, body position, heart rate and light. Some of these methods have little research to support the accuracy, others have none. This means that we have very little evidence, if any, to suggest that they are accurate at tracking sleep.

Generally, wearables are more accurate than nearables. But even wearable devices which use well-researched methods of tracking sleep like measuring body movement may still be very inaccurate. Why? The problem is that even though many sleep trackers use the same methods to track sleep, each and every sleep tracker has a different way of calculating sleep. Two wrist-worn devices which both measure movement can give very different data about a person’s sleep.

Many sleep trackers have absolutely no evidence available about their accuracy. This means that we don’t know whether they are accurate at tracking sleep. Under current laws, sleep trackers don’t require any evidence of their accuracy before being sold to consumers. These devices could be completely inaccurate and the consumer would be none the wiser.

In recent years, sleep researchers have been testing the accuracy of the most popular sleep trackers. Some are reasonably accurate, but many are sub-par. So if you are on the hunt for a sleep tracking device – do your research. Search the web for information about the accuracy of your desired sleep tracker before purchasing. Some companies have information available on their website about the accuracy of their devices. If no research studies have been conducted, think twice before purchasing. These devices may not be worth your money.

By Hannah Scott

Hannah is a PhD (Research) Candidate from Flinders University

 

If you’re like me, you hit the snooze alarm on your phone two, three, sometimes even four times before you finally find the energy and motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Panic then sets in when you realise that you don’t have enough time to get yourself ready for the day, and you will definitely be late for work. When you do arrive at work, you hear your colleague bragging about the morning jog that they went on before you even had your first cup of coffee. Sound familiar?

If you are a serial snoozer like me, your circadian rhythms may be to blame. Circadian rhythms are our internal clocks which tell our body when it is time for sleep and when we should be awake. For most people, their circadian propensity for alertness has already started to increase before their alarms sounds in the morning. But for those of us who struggle in the mornings, we may have delayed circadian rhythms meaning that our circadian propensity for alertness doesn’t rise, or is at least at a lower level than other people, at our desired wake up time. If you identify as a ‘night owl’, this may be you. Your boastful colleague is likely to have advanced circadian rhythms, meaning that they are ‘morning people’ and can generally find it much easier to wake up early in the morning.

So, is it bad to snooze your alarm in the morning? No, but it’s not good either. If you fall asleep in-between each snooze of your alarm, the sleep that you experience is likely to be light sleep. This stage of sleep is not particularly recuperative, meaning that we don’t actually get much benefit from this extra sleep. It might not be harmful, but it’s not helpful either. And we’re now late for work.

So if we shouldn’t snooze our alarms, what should we do instead? The answer sounds simple but is difficult for many: we should get up in the morning at the time of our first alarm. Over time, it will become easier to get up at this time because our circadian rhythms will shift so that we feel sleepier earlier in the evening and more alert in the morning. This is largely due to earlier exposure to bright light, which will help advance your circadian rhythms. Better yet, try using light therapy like the re-timer light therapy glasses in the morning to maximise light exposure and help shift those rhythms.

And if you’re still struggling in the morning, maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Try to go to bed earlier to ensure you’re getting enough sleep, and check out our handy tips on how the get a better night’s rest.

By Hannah Scott

Hannah is a PhD (Research) Candidate from Flinders University

© Copyright 2020 Re-Time Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Re-Timer™ is a registered trademark of Re-Time Pty Ltd. The views and information expressed here should be considered as general only, and should not be used for medical purposes.