Are Blue Blocking Sunglasses the Answer to Your Poor Sleep?


Would you wear sunglasses around the house after the sun sets if it meant you are sure to sleep more soundly? Before we get into the blue-blocking glasses part of this story, let’s talk about what exactly blue light is, and why it could be hurting your sleep.

About to get geeky for a minute: Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays, all of which have different wavelengths and emit different levels of energy into your eyes. All combined together, this big spectrum of colored light rays creates what we know as sunlight, or “white light.” The rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths and emit less energy, and rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and emit more energy to your eyes.

While sunlight is the main place we take in blue light, we also get a lot of blue light from our man-made, indoor sources of light, both the old-school lightbulbs we used to use and even the more efficient LED lights, as well as the screens—TVs, computers, phones, tablets—we love so much. While the sun does give off way more blue light than our cellphones do, we don’t stare directly into the sun for hours on end the way we do our phones. So not only is this a problem for long-term eye health, it’s also a problem for your sleep.

It’s an issue for sleep because taking in too much blue light, especially right before you go to bed, suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, which then disrupts your circadian rhythm. This essentially means your body gets tricked into thinking it’s daytime and not bedtime, even when it’s way past your bedtime. The result being you have trouble falling asleep.

While technology, and specifically our phone companies, are allegedly trying to protect us from blue light at night — Apple introduced a new feature in 2016 that they called “night shift,” which shifts the color of your phone’s display to emit less blue light once the sun goes down—it’s still unclear (not yet proven by science) whether this effort by Apple is really making a difference for our eyes and our sleep.

Another option: Blue blocking glasses. Basically, blue blocking glasses are glasses that block most of the blue light we take in once it’s dark outside and we’re meant to be winding down and prepping for bed. You wear them inside to block the artificial light. There are certainly blue blocking glasses critics out there who say they don’t really help but there is also a decent amount of research that does suggests blue blocking glasses might be worth looking into, especially if you’re someone who needs to be on a computer late at night finishing work or whatnot.

Specifically, one study done at the University of Houston College of Optometry and published in the Journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/opo.12385) suggests blue light from digital devices are contributing to the increasing number of people with reported sleep dysfunction. The study found those who wore short wavelength-blocking glasses three hours before bed for two weeks experienced a 58 percent increase in melatonin levels. As a result, these participants said they slept better, fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer when they wore the blue blocking glasses.

Have you ever tried blue-blocking glasses? Do you recommend them? Tell us about your experience.

When it Comes to Sweets, You Can’t Cheat the System


Do you know the story of aspartame? It was discovered by accident in 1965 by a chemist named James Schlatter, who was working on developing an anti-ulcer drug. He came across aspartame during his re-search, licked his finger without thinking, and realized it tasted sweet like sugar. Eventually the brand NutraSweet (basically aspartame) because popular, especially among people who were trying to limit their sugar consumption or lose weight. They blindly believed the NutraSweet marketing machine that this product was healthier for them than sugar. But soon (as early as the 1980s), evidence started emerging that suggested aspartame is actually quite toxic to humans. Here’s what the chemical breakdown of aspartame looks like in our bodies:

Methanol, which comes from aspartame, gets released into the small intestine once it comes into contact with the enzyme chymotrypsin. Then the methanol gets converted into formaldehyde, which then gets converted into formic acid. Formic acid is toxic! In fact, formic acid is used to strip epoxy and urethane coatings. You wouldn’t lick glue or varnish, so why would you pop aspartame into your mouth?

Today, tons of health problems have been associated with aspartame, including abdominal pain, arthritis, asthma, edema, blood sugar control problems, brain cancer, burning urination, depression, diarrhea, hearing loss, thinning of hair, menstrual problems, memory loss, muscle spasms, seizures, vertigo, vision loss, weight gain. Basically, everything! Though you may not have known all the details about aspartame, you probably have heard along the way that it’s bad for you and likely switched to some other allegedly healthier artificial sweetener, right?

Maybe you’re into sucralose, or Splenda. Or maybe you have discovered erythritol or xylitol? Or maybe stevia or sorbitol? Or maybe you’re digging some other product that told you it was organic and healthy and all-natural? Basically, if you’re like most people, you probably just decided to listen to the message the company told you about their product being healthier than sugar.

Sorry to all those with a sweet toothed folks out there, but you might have been duped. Just like NutraSweet duped us all in the 1980s. At least, a new study published in the British Medical Journal (https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k4718) says you might have been tricked. The study, which looked at 56 individual studies about non-sugar sweeteners that included close to 14,000 people, concluded there’s absolutely no evidence that these allegedly healthier sweeteners are any better for your health than plain old sugar. Some of the health issues the researchers looked at included changes in weight, body mass index, oral health, eating behavior, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and mood swings associated with sugar and non-sugar sweeteners.

While the results of the study don’t tell us whether artificial sweeteners are even worse than sugar, as is the case with aspartame, the various types of non-sugar sweeteners also don’t present any evidence that they’re healthier than sugar, said the researchers. Our best advice: Get off the fake sugar right away! And avoid other sugar most of the time (yes this includes honey, syrups and agave). Depending on your goals and how your body responds to sugar, you probably want to avoid eating too much fruit, too, especially too much dried fruit like figs and dates. But but but, here’s the good news for you sweet tooth sugar addicts: Although you want to avoid sugar most of the time, it’s OK to treat yourself here and there to some-thing sweet. We’ll forgive you. Just return to no sugar the next day.

How We’re Different Than the Other Gyms


Generally, a gym experience comes in one of three forms:

 

  1. Globo gym:This is the big box, community center style of gym. Generally, you pay between $20 and $100 a month for the use of the equipment and you can workout on your own time and at your own leisure.
  2. Group Exercise facility: You pay to attend group exercise classes, be it bootcamp, yoga classes, spin classes, CrossFit classes, pilates, Orange Theory etc. Typically, you pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 to $180 a month for unlimited classes, or you buy a punch-pass for $20 a pop.
  3. Personal Training Studio: You work predominantly with a coach in a one-on-one environment, and pay anywhere from $75 to $120 an hour for personalized coaching (often $1,000 + a month).

 

We are NONE of the above. But before we get into what we do, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the above three types of gyms.

 

 

 

Globo Gym:

Pros: Memberships are typically quite inexpensive, and if you’re experienced, fit, healthy, injury-free and comfortable in the gym, you can follow a program that caters to your needs and goals and you will see real fitness results.

Cons: You receive little to no guidance from a coach, so more often than not members aren’t working on the things they need to be working on to reach their health, fitness and body composition goals. And because there’s no accountability to stick to your commitment to fitness—nobody reaches out if you stop showing up—members often fall off the wagon, yet continue to pay their membership dues because the fee is small enough they barely realize the money is trickling out of their bank account. Thus, most people don’t see results and don’t stick around. Further, the vibe tends to be quite anti-social; people show up with headphones on and listen to music as they grind it out on their own, not speaking or connecting with anyone around them. In other words, there’s no feeling of community in most Globo gyms.

 

 

 

Group Exercise Facility

Pros: Training in a group is fun, social, competitive and motivating. There’s often a strong feeling of community and people make lasting friendships with other likeminded, health conscious individuals. While more expensive than a community center membership, fees are still much more affordable than personal training studios.

Cons: You’re fitness is generally done in a group environment, so there’s little to no individual programming or coaching. This means your personal weaknesses, limitations, injuries, let alone wants, needs and goals, aren’t addressed: You’re at the mercy of the group, as opposed to what you need as an individual. This leads to injuries and/or low accountability to one’s fitness. (Generally, when fitness is done via group exercise classes alone, annual churn rate among members is 70 percent, meaning 7 out of 10 members don’t last even one year in this environment).

 

 

 

Personal Training Studio:

Pros: You receive personalized care from a professional coach, who caters to your individual goals, wants and needs. This personal coaching helps you achieve fitness goals and reduces your chance of injury. Accountability also tends to be high because you have an appointment with a coach, who you have an actual relationship with, and are paying a premium to be there.

Cons: It’s expensive (often completely unaffordable for many) and lacks a sense of community. When you speak to people who go to a personal training studio, they often reveal they only know one person in the whole gym: Their personal coach. Thus, it’s challenging to forge a community support network at a personal training studio.

 

 

 

Enter 7 Mile Strength & Fitness: The impetus behind what we do is to combine the pros from all of the above models, while ditching the cons!

From a practical standpoint, here’s what it looks like:

 

Step 1: Fundamentals

You will get paired up with a coach your feel your connect with—someone you trust with your long term health and fitness needs.

You begin by doing an introductory session with this coach, followed by approximately 10-20 personal training sessions (depending on your individual needs). These sessions help identify your current fitness level, your injury history, your strengths and weaknesses and your fitness and body composition goals. Based on the above, you will be given a toolkit to help prepare you to be successful in group classes.

 

Step 2: Hybrid Membership

Once you’re prepared, you will graduate to group classes and will begin a combination of weekly group classes (two to five classes per week), plus periodic personal training sessions with your personal coach. The frequency with which you meet your coach depends on your goals, needs and budget, but is generally once a week, once as month, once every six months or once a quarter. These sessions will help keep you on track with your goals, and will also provide an opportunity to address what’s working and what’s not working in classes, so you can adjust accordingly to ensure your continued progress.

 

 

 

As a result, we believe our hybrid model provides you with all that is required to be successful in health and fitness, including:

  1. A personal coach to cater to your individual needs so you actually see fitness results.
  2. A community-based, social environment, where you’ll feel a sense of belonging to a supportive community of friends.
  3. Financially affordable.

Contact us for more.