Left-Field Science – Red Tinted Glasses and Cows Being Milked in the Dark
At Bedpost we’re all about making sure you get the perfect night’s sleep thanks to the perfect combination of bed, base, mattress and pillow but, every so often, we’re struck by science’s obsession with finding strange ways to help us catch our Zzzzs.
Over the past month two odd reports caught our attention.
First the return of those 70s and 80s iconic shades called BluBlockers as a way to counteract insomnia brought on by using computer screens, phones and tablets in bed.
As well as electronics stimulating the brain and preventing you slowing down before bedtime, research has long shown that the blue light given off by screens on mobile devices also tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
And because your body is hard-wired to wake up in daylight, you automatically shut down any sleep systems.
One study showed people reading iPads before bed took 10 minutes to fall asleep compared to those who tucked up with a good book – even people using e-readers or just checking up on their texts got less quality sleep than those who didn’t.
There are apps out there which automatically dim electronic screens in the evening and you can always find a blue light-blocking screen protector – but it seems that one of the easiest ways to trick your brain into missing out on the blue light is by slipping on a pair of classic retro sunnies with the orange lenses!
The second strange sleep tip was in the New Zealand Herald, which reported that Otago Uni’s WellSleep Centre had tested milk taken from cows at night and shown it was high in the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
The clinical trial involved 19 participants and found the powder reduced the time to onset sleep, increased the deepest phase of sleep and reduces daytime dysfunction – including sleepiness, fatigue, impaired memory and poor concentration, according to research and development manager Dr Simon Causer, who works for dairy company Synlait.
Unfortunately for New Zealanders, Synlait primarily exports their milk to Asia, so you might have to find a friendly farmer who doesn’t mind getting up in the dead of the night if you want to test the benefits of night milk yourself.
Either that or you could travel to Korea, where the milk is already being marketed under the name of Sleepiz – it’s sold as a powder which can be turned into a drink which should help you regulate your sleeping rhythms better.