Man, we wish we’d started using blue light blocking glasses when first starting shift work over a decade ago!
We really dive into blue light blocking glasses and what they are all about below, but let us cut right to the chase: these glasses will protect your eyes and allow you to fall asleep quicker and stay that way. But when making a purchasing decision, you absolutely get what you pay for. Some “prettier” blue light blockers (as they are commonly called) cost around $25, but to be honest, they do half the job.
The pair we wear every single day are called “Swannies” from Swanwick Sleep (Click here to see them via the Swanwick Sleep website). Yes, they are a little more expensive but there is a reason, they actually do as they promote and block out the majority of the blue light…. 99% is the figure.
You probably think we are trying to rip you off by not recommending a cheaper product, but in fact, we are saving you time and money. We tried about 5-6 different pairs of blue light blocking glasses before we settled on Swannies.
We want to show you what was wrong with the other pairs and what we love about the Swanwick Sleep brand so you can make your own informed decision.
If you’re a visual person, here is a video from Swanwick Sleep which helps explain what their glasses are all about, their brand and why blue light is important.
Why we chose Swanwick Sleep Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Rewind a year ago, before we found Swanwick Sleep, both of us were working shift work and went through a period of struggling to fall asleep quickly, particularly after a late (2nd) shift and night shift. We tried to do the “right” things by having a warm shower and even reading a book over watching a movie before bed, but nothing was helping fast track the sleep process.
Then we found Swannies.
They have not only shaved significant time from how long it takes to fall to sleep, but we are waking up feeling less groggy. They also impacted eye strain and headaches, which we often felt when using our devices to wind down after a shift.
Comparing the glasses to some of the cheaper options, there is one HUGE difference. The amount of blue light actually being blocked…
So how much blue light is actually being blocked by Swannies?
Swanwick Sleep promotes that their glasses block over 99% of blue light up to 490nanameter (nm) and over 98% up to 500nm.
Whereas others seem to be between 60-95% of the same spectrum of blue light or they just don’t bother to tell you at all (major red flag!).
We think it’s pretty concerning that you have to go searching for this information. Isn’t blocking out the visible spectrum of blue light the whole point of these glasses?
We did find a pair on Amazon called BLUblox Jasper Sleep (click on the link to explore on Amazon) which claim to block 100% of the blue light. We haven’t used them to be honest because they look frighteningly red and think we’d be tempted to constantly take them off when going about our business. But they could be worth a shot.
In our opinion, blocking over 99% is good enough for us and we don’t find the orange color in Swannies distracting at all. But more on this…
The orange color can be explained by the science of light wavelengths and their relationship to color. So no, you cannot personalize this part of the glasses, just in case you were wondering.
The specific orange color seen in the lens was deeper than we thought it was going to be, but it certainly wasn’t an issue after the first couple of wears.
Watching TV, movies and scrolling on your phone takes a few wears to get used to, but it very quickly becomes your “new normal.”
The only problem we faced with the actual coloring was when we were using our computer to complete design work.
The color pallet needed to be spot-on but the orange color distorted the image we were creating. We ever so slightly lifted the glasses to see we were on the right track, which we know was defeating the purpose. So now we stick to non-design type work at night so this isn’t an issue.
However, if you don’t have the luxury to just alter your schedule, the day Swannies by Swanwick Sleep have a much lighter yellow lens which makes this type of work possible at night.
Just be aware, by design, they don’t block the same amount of blue light. 42-80% of blue light between 400-450 nanometers is what they claim on their website. We use these glasses during the day while on the computer and now rarely get headaches and glare.
Comfort and Appearance
We love that Swannies glasses are extremely light and comfortable to wear. Other pairs worn in the past were excessively large and felt very heavy on our face. We subconsciously took them off to give our nose and eyes a “break,” defeating the purpose of wearing them at all.
With Swannies we often forget the glasses are on. Dan has to constantly remind Em as we turn off the light at night, that they are not for sleeping.
We previously pictured big yellow lens construction type glasses whenever somebody mentioned “blue blockers”, but engineering has come a long way.
Swannies are slick, modern looking glasses and we are comfortable using them outside while commuting home, traveling on a plane and even on public transport. We’re not sure we could say the same for the construction type specs…
Can I Get Away Without Wearing “Blue Blockers”?
Yes, you can, but why would you?
For less than $80 you can naturally allow your sleep hormones, such as Melatonin, to do its job while you keep using your device and watching TV. This is not like buying sleeping pills that run out and you need a new script… once you’ve got them, you’re set for life (unless you sit on them!).
As shift workers, some of the jobs we do are pretty full on and we need time to wind down and relax before we hit the hay.
Most of us, actually it’s safe to assume 99% of us, either watch TV, read a book, scroll our phones or play video games for at least 30minutes to a couple of hours before bed.
If you’re reading this I’m guessing you know a thing or two about blue light but for those who don’t, this artificial light is keeping you awake. Literally.
The things you are using to help you “wind down” are actually the exact things keeping you awake. It’s bonkers.
Swannies allow you to still watch TV, scroll and play without the sleep disturbance.
The other scary thing is this blue light has been proven to lead to chronic (long term) eye conditions or induce blindness.
We know this seems all very dramatic, but if you can limit the chance of eye disease and help yourself sleep after a busy day, by wearing these glasses, it’s a no-brainer for us.
So to answer the question, “can I get away with not wearing them?” Sure you can. But these are the same people who spend hours in the sun without sunscreen. Why risk your health when the answer is so incredibly easy to get and implement into your life.
Features to Look for in Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- How much blue light is being blocked? Make sure it’s over 98%.
- Are customizations available such as adding prescription and modifying the hinges? If you need prescription lenses inserted this is hugely important. This is something Swanwick Sleep do offer. Click this link to find out more about the Swanwick Sleep prescription page
- How sturdy are the hinges? When you open and close them, do they feel like they are going to break or are they strong?
- Are they FDA approved or registered? This process is a little complicated and we go into more details in the post we wrote about, what to look for blue light blocking glasses. But basically, this is a good thing to have.
- What material are the frames made from? Titanium, wood, plastic, acetate… make sure the material is suitable for your environment and personal preference.
- Is there a return policy? Does this change if you get it customizations? Swanwick Sleep offer a 100% money back guarantee within 30 days of purchase. You can check out the return policy here.
- Reviews – Have other people used them in the past? What is there experience? Here is a link to the Swanwick website where there are lots of honest reviews for you to explore.
Getting the Most of Your Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Put them on at least 90 minutes before you jump into bed. The earlier you put them on the better the results, in our experience.
Be patient. It took us around 2-3 weeks to see any real change in how quickly we were falling to sleep, staying asleep and feeling energetic upon waking. This period of time will be different for everyone so don’t give up too soon. In saying that, we did notice an immediate improvement in eye strain and headaches when watching TV and using our device.
Don’t take them off while brushing your teeth. It’s unnatural to wear glasses in the bathroom which are not prescription, but resist the urge to take them off. Every time you remove them your sleep hormones are being confused about the job they are supposed to be playing. Remember they are already confused being a shift worker, so don’t make this harder than it needs to be.
Clean them with the microfiber cleaning cloth you receive. This increases the chance of scratches and is totally preventable. Plus, the cloth does a much better job.
Don’t put them on your head. We know it’s second nature to rest your glasses on your head as we commonly do with sunglasses, but think twice. You can stretch the hinges and shorten your glasses life.
What We Also Like About Swanwick Sleep
Apart from being a professional company who shop worldwide, they also offer a range of other products which can lead to better sleep. We have provided a link to each of these items below.
Adopting a New Bedtime Routine to Include Blue Light Blocking Glasses Takes Time
Most of us are creatures of habit and like to do things in a certain way and particular order. And the routine you follow before bed is no different.
We know changing your routine will initially be a shock to the system, but from one shift worker to the next, these glasses are worth the effort. Check out Swannies here. I’ll leave you with a video review we did on Swanwick Sleep below.