Worn like a pair of sunglasses, Re-Timer emits a soft, UV-free green light onto the eyes to stimulate the part of the brain responsible for regulating the 24-hour body clock, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake in the morning, the company says.
“The human body clock likes to delay if given the chance, which means we have a natural tendency to stay up a bit later at night and get up later in the morning,” says Re-Timer inventor, sleep psychologist, and professor Leon Lack. “In summer, getting exposure to morning sunlight stops that natural late drift but in winter it’s harder to keep the late drift in check so people struggle to get out of bed in the morning. This disrupts their body clock and can cause bouts of depression, particularly in the morning. But the Re-Timer mimics outdoor light, thereby regulating the body clock, which in turn has a positive effect on brain chemicals linked to mood.”
Launched in 2012 following 25 years of sleep research at Flinders University, Australia, the portable device can also counter jet lag, keep shift workers more alert, and get teenagers out of bed by advancing or delaying the sleep-wake cycle, according to the company.
Re-Timer CEO Ben Olsen says about 30% of all Re-Timer sales are used to treat the winter blues.
He says the device is more effective and convenient than any other light therapy unit on the market because it emits a soft, UV-free light and, unlike conventional systems, it does not require the user to sit close to the unit for lengthy periods of time.
“Most light boxes and lamps emit a very bright light of up to 10,000 lux, which is the amount of brightness required for the light to reach the user’s eyes from where they are sitting,” Olsen says.
“But the Re-Timer emits just 506 lux on the highest setting, which is all that’s needed because the light is closer to the user’s eyes, and you only have to wear the glasses for 30 minutes as opposed to the required 60 minutes you have to sit in front of a traditional light device,” he says. “It’s also a lot more convenient because being portable, you can wear it while making a coffee and getting ready for work–and at the same time treating the winter blues.”
Olsen recommends wearing the glasses for 30 minutes per day immediately after waking in the morning to advance the body clock.