We need blue light. It comes from the sun and is very necessary. It gives signals to your brain to produce dopamine. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm. It helps regulate vitamin D production, which is paramount to all sorts of other critical bodily functions. Our primitive predecessors had natural blue light throughout the day and red sunsets and firelight that signaled to their brains that the wind down process is imminent. But for the modern, could-be warrior like you… that blue light is also emanating from your phone, your television, your computer, and every other screen you’re dependent on throughout your day for work, entertainment, and social interaction, and it has the potential, if mismanaged, to kick your ass six ways to Sunday.
It’s all about timing. Blue light from early morning sun sets you up for great success in all of the aforementioned areas, but blue light in the hours after sunset and before bed… that will make you a lifeless, sleepy, depressed, anxious mess of a useless human being. It’ll ruin your sleep. It’ll ruin your hormone balance. It’ll ruin your sex life. It’ll ruin your happiness and well being. Put the blue light away at least a couple hours before bed. Put down the phone. Tik Tok can wait until tomorrow. That chick (or dude) you sent the DM to on Instagram probably isn’t going to respond so staring at your phone while you wait, delusionally hopeful, is going to lead to regret tomorrow when you can’t function worth a damn. Get off the computer. Your emails will still be there in the morning. Dim the lights or, better yet, get red lights. If you NEED to have a screen in front of you… and you probably don’t… get some blue blockers. Bottom line: get blue light early. Avoid it like the plague in the evening. This is an easy lever to pull and paramount to getting restorative sleep, recovery, hormone production and balance so you can kick tomorrow’s ass.
When we talk about about optimization, we look to nature and our primitive predecessors as the model. There are performance enhancing drugs present in your sleep, in your food, and even in your breathing techniques. That’s right. That thing you do 16 to 20 times per minute all day, every day, without even thinking about it, has enhanced benefits if you do it properly. Doing it wrong can, and will, screw up your posture, inhibit muscle growth, give you bad breath and bad teeth, and kick your ass. Doing it right… has benefits that will affect your life in ways you can’t imagine and have probably never considered. There are countless techniques out there, from yoga techniques, to Wim Hof, to Lamaze, but we're talking about something much simpler: just shut your mouth. In addition to the inability to say dumb things you’ll regret later, breathing exclusively through your nose positively impacts your lung capacity, your posture, your oral health, and increases nitric oxide, which people pay a lot of hard earned money for synthetic versions of. Nitric oxide increases the amount of oxygen in your muscles, creates a better pump when working out, and reduces recovery time between blood burning sessions.
Some hardcore warriors tape their mouths closed when they sleep, and even when they are in situations where they aren’t talking or eating. Your spouse might love this one. Either way, it’s an option and it won’t hurt you. We don’t mean duct tape, unless you’re into that kind of thing, but that’s your business. There is tape out there that is meant specifically for this purpose. You were made to breathe through your nose. So shut your damn mouth.
Feast on your delicious nose-to-tail, nutrient-dense spread, and then put the fork and knife down before you wind down. Get your walk in. Go swimming (that waiting 30 minutes before swimming thing is a myth, we assure you). Bond with your family and friends. Call your mom. Do whatever you want (within reason), but don’t open that mouth to breathe or eat. Letting your food digest for several hours and letting blood divert back from the stomach to sleep-critical systems is important for proper hormone release that primes your body for restful light, REM, and slow-wave sleep. Eating too close to bedtime will increase your resting heart rate, lower your heart rate variability, and result in poor quality recovery, leading to poor performance the following day. If you’re eating a satiating, nutrient dense last meal, you won’t be hungry and that habitual dessert or late snack is setting you back, even if it’s a healthy dessert or snack. Diverting valuable resources to digestion instead of sleep will delay your slow-wave sleep cycles and minimize the time you spend in restorative sleep, so even if you sleep for an adequate, or even excessive, amount of time, the quality of your sleep will be suspect at best, causing low growth-hormone production. Your grandma was onto something when she dragged everyone to the early bird special for liver and onions at 4pm so she could save $3.29.
Blue light, ladies and gentlemen… it kills your dreams. Literally. After sunset, blue light has absolutely no place in a healthy person’s life. It comes from phones, computers, nightlights, televisions, alarm clocks, device chargers, watches… if you’ve read anything we’ve ever published on sleep or avoiding dangers, you already know to turn these things off. But what about the the light you can’t turn off? Your neighbor’s porch light. The street light. The neon sign from the gas station or strip joint down the street. Whatever. You need to shut that light out also. Darkness is paramount to quality sleep. Blackout curtains or blinds, blankets over the windows, moving to the country… Do whatever is necessary to get in complete darkness. If you’re afraid of the dark, get over it. See a therapist. Do hypnosis. Whatever. Dominate the darkness. Dominate sleep. Dominate LIFE.
Yeah, yeah... Blue light is bad at night and we’ve said it ad nauseum… but it’s not necessarily practical to go medieval with kerosene lamps after the sun goes down and in 2022, sometimes people have stuff to do in the evening. So how do we minimize blue light while not living by firelight?
Get some Himalayan salt lamps in your life. Stat. First, they look cool AND emit red light which, for the eyes, mimics sunset and firelight, both of which signal the brain to tell the body to prepare for sleep by increasing melatonin production. That’d be enough if it were the only benefit, but it goes much deeper than that. Red light has a therapeutic and healing affect for the skin, which isn’t unique to those fancy, expensive, near-infrared lights that Instagram celebrities are selling you along with their expensive blue blockers and weight loss miracle drugs that make you feel like a crackhead on meth, coke, coffee, Adderall, and more meth. Himalayan salt lamps, specifically, have additional benefits that ordinary red lamps don’t have. They cleanse and deodorize the air through a slight dehumidifying process because salt attracts water and the toxins present in that water, especially if you live in an apartment that shares and recycles air with your odd neighbors who are up to God knows what next door. Salt lamps have also been shown to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms and reduce coughing for the very same reason. And if that were not enough, they can reduce seasonal affect disorder symptoms for those who live in higher latitudes and experience shorter windows of daylight in the wintertime. So let’s get all 70s and get some Himalayan salt lamps. Just ditch the polyester.
More talk about the detrimental effects of blue light in the evening… because, well, it’s detrimental as %$*^. We’ve told you a few ways to mitigate it, from salt lamps, to blackout shades, but sometimes you need to burn the midnight oil and hang out on your phone or your laptop, which you ought not put on your lap if you like your genitals and want to use them effectively. This is not an excuse to peruse the Tik Tok or Netflix and chill (try bonding without a screen to break the awkward silence), but maybe you have work emails to catch up on, or you want to FaceTime with your grandma. In that event, we recommend you don the incredibly fashionable and wholly affordable UVEX safety goggles. This will mitigate the blue light you insist on exposing yourself to so you can still get maximum sleep quality and keep your circadian rhythm constant. We put blue blockers on after dinner every night, because it’s such an easy lever to pull and we tend to watch Jeopardy. We may be barbarians, but we’re smart and competitive barbarians who like to flex our mental muscles at each other as much as we do our biceps.
Become the ultimate, dominant barbarian by getting hardcore with your sleep environment and save money while you’re at it. Your synthetic, fancy mattress is full of chemicals and materials rife with the same phytoestrogens in seed oils that make you a tubby, sexless, weak human with love handles and poor posture. Besides, like the Liver King says, comfort is not good for the organism. Sleep on the floor and cover yourself with natural materials like wool or cotton. Use a feather pillow instead of that fancy foam that spews forth dangerous chemicals and deposits them right into all of your head’s orifices like your ears, nose, mouth, pores, and eyes. This is next level stuff, but once you go floor… bed no more. If that bed is grounded, that's next, next level.