A few weeks ago, when the sun had set and New York City was completely dark at 4:30 PM, I turned to my editor and suggested we get a SAD lamp for our office to simulate sunlight and cure our winter blues. I’m the kind of person who always gets a little bit depressed in the cold, dark months of the season, so I took to Amazon with one mission: Find a little lamp that would boost my energy and mood. But, I found an even better alternative.
Instead of a stationary lamp, I came across AYO—blue light therapy glasses that you wear for 20 minutes a day. I was skeptical, but the reviews claimed these glasses were life changing. They help people fall asleep, they cure insomnia and seasonal depression, they boost your energy, and all it takes is 20 minutes of wear per day—supposedly. I was intrigued. If the path to feeling good all winter long (and even beyond) was as easy as wearing a pair of glasses, I was fully onboard.
AYO’s glasses are the world’s first wearable circadian health device. What does that mean, exactly? Well, essentially, the brand is combining light therapy with chronobiology to target circadian rhythm, which in turn affects your sleep, heart rate, immune system, body temperature, blood pressure, hormones, performance, and overall mood. Basically: If your circadian rhythm is fucked, so are you.
When I first received my glasses (which, by the way, come with a charger and are packed in a cool, futuristic-looking tube), I was admittedly a little scared. Having lights that close to my eyes didn’t feel safe at first, but AYO’s science is clinically backed, so I went for it. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about. The glasses aren’t really glasses—there are no lenses, just lights. They’re super lightweight and flexible, with an adjustable nose bridge that lets you place the lights right above your eyes and not in your field of vision.The blue light turns on when you unfold the arms of the glasses, and automatically turns off after 20 minutes, when your session is done. But for those 20 minutes, you’re comfortable and barely notice the glasses are there—the hard work of fixing your circadian rhythm isn’t even very hard at all.
Even after one wear, I felt better. I consistently have trouble falling asleep, and no matter how long I sleep for, I find myself wishing I had more energy during the day. With these, though, my sleep has never been better. I fall asleep and stay asleep almost instantly, and during the daytime, there’s a pep in my step that the winter blues couldn’t beat if they tried.
One of my favorite features to use alongside the glasses is the AYO app, which, really, is my personal one-stop hub for all things wellness—and was a welcome surprise to this experience. (The app is currently in early access and needs an activation code which you can get by emailing [email protected] after purchasing your pair). On the app, you answer a few easy questions—your gender, age, workday schedule and weekend schedule—and are then presented with a very specific (and visually stunning) report on your well-being. My AYO homepage suggests that I don’t drink coffee after 2:11 PM, that I enjoy sunlight for the optimal hours of the afternoon, that my prime time for exercising is between noon and 1 PM, and that my cognition will peak around that same time.
The “Me” tab says: Your circadian health can be better! Which, true. AYO reports that, because I’m inconsistent in what time I go to sleep and wake up every day, I have “social jet lag” of about 120 minutes… and am in 255 minutes of sleep debt (“Not good!” it says). AYO does the math for me, though; just 36 minutes of extra sleep a day will supposedly help me feel better, as, given my age and gender, I need 8.9 hours of sleep per day.
Usually, I wake up around 7:45 AM, but AYO told me I should adjust to wake up at 7:30 instead, and I have to admit… it makes a difference in how energized I feel. Who knew that these glasses would fix my health even when I wasn’t wearing them? All I know is that I’ve changed my daily habits thanks to these glasses and I already feel like a new person.
Trishna Rikhy is the Associate Style Commerce Editor at Esquire. Previously, her writing has appeared in Vogue Runway, PAPER Magazine, V Magazine, V MAN, and more. She is based in NYC, but can probably be found wherever the strongest cup of coffee is.
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