September 02, 2012
Helpful Hints from joeeze: Reading with red headlamp puts insomniacs to sleep
Wrote LifeProTrips on Reddit:
I have been a bit of an insomniac all my life. I can never sleep before I'm exhausted, and that's almost never before 2 a.m. (I thought it would change as I grew older, but by my mid-30s it hasn't yet).
The problem is that I just can't turn my brain off, I can't sleep. I can try to lay quietly in the dark for hours, but my brain keeps whirling, whirling, whirling away. I'll even try consciously not to think consciously. You can imaging how well that works. It's futile, so I have to get up and do something else.
However, I've discovered a trick that just about always works to put me to sleep. The key is that you're not really trying to shut your brain down, you're engaging it, while the sneaky science elves fight a rear-guard action to put you to sleep.
Read a book in bed with a RED LED headlamp
Only a book though — not Reddit or Facebook, etc. Any paper-based book, Kindle, or e-reader without a backlight will work, but never use a phone or computer: these shine bright bluish-white LED light in your face no matter what color is on the screen. Blue light is stimulating to the brain and will keep you awake: avoid at all costs! A computer screen, a white (aka blue) LED head-lamp, or even an incandescent bulb (too much of the blue spectrum) won't work.
Before I picked up a cheapo red headlamp I would use a white one and it just didn't work. I'd be up all night reading, especially if the book was captivating. Go for the red, read for a bit, you'll be shocked at how little you can read before the book hits you in the face. When you read with a red head-lamp, your brain is snuggled down and sedated. It's better than Nyquil.
Red headlamp pictured above: $12.67.
[via Anjan Gewali]
September 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink
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I've actually been experimenting with this lately. All bright lights and lighted devices are off in our house at least an hour before bed - no tv, phone, ipad, etc... only books, talking, etc. with low light. It definitely helps sleep quality! I'm intrigued though since I read somewhere (can't remember where) that you can get a similar effect by wearing those blue-blocking glasses while watching tv or working on a computer in the late evening - I guess much like red lights. Seems worth a try if you absolutely must get some computer work done or something.
Posted by: Addie | Sep 6, 2012 2:11:53 PM
The free software known as "f.lux" installed on your computer is said to help as well.
Posted by: DC3 | Sep 4, 2012 4:05:08 PM
Lately, all I have to do is read for about ten minutes before I'm nodding off. That's problematic, because most of my reading is in bed.
When I do have difficulty falling asleep, I use a method I happened upon in a random manner about ten years ago that one person has since told me they've heard of before, so it may actually be a thing. I haven't done a search for it because...well, it works for me, so why do I need to look it up?
It's pretty simple: You know how when you close your eyes, there's persistence of vision that quickly calms down to just little pinpricks of very dim, indistinct light here and there? With eyes still closed, pick one and look at it. No need to concentrate or think about it, just gaze at it. When I do this, I'm usually asleep within two minutes.
Posted by: Mike Harney | Sep 3, 2012 2:02:56 PM
I have had one of these for over 4 years now. I is indespensible in countless situations. Got mine at Menard's. You forget that it is on your head!
Posted by: friskypainter | Sep 2, 2012 8:24:05 PM
Thank You a thousand sunsets!
Posted by: JoePeach | Sep 2, 2012 7:33:34 PM
"... but I wish they had a small lamp that sat on the bed stand."
Your wish is my demand:
Posted by: bookofjoe | Sep 2, 2012 6:53:03 PM
I'm ordering one but I wish they had a small lamp that sat on the bed stand.
Now if I can just get my mind to not notice the contraption banded to my head!
Posted by: JoePeach | Sep 2, 2012 6:34:50 PM
Have you ever tried melatonin? I have the same problem, I can be really physically tired but my brain just won't stop with the nothingness of random thoughts. If I take 5mg of melatonin an hour before I want to sleep, my brain doesn't keep me awake. It doesn't make me feel sleepy at all, but once I turn out the lights and lay down, I'm out.
Posted by: MelissaB | Sep 2, 2012 6:02:33 PM
That's trip! I might just try that...
Posted by: jim` | Sep 2, 2012 12:51:58 PM
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