Episode 63 – Better Sleep For Dads with James Swanwick of Swanwick Sleep
00:01:17 Guess Background
00:02:53 Paying More Attention to Sleep
00:05:57 Some Things That Compromises Your Sleep
00:08:34 Science Behind The Swanwick’s Glasses
00:12:18 Thoughts On These Important Issues
00:16:50 Question Everything
00:17:53 Swanwick’s Glasses In-depth Discussion
00:20:14 Swanwick’s New Better Night Light Bulbs
00:22:16 Important Sleep Hygiene
00:26:07 James’ Quitting Alcohol Program
00:28:15 Worse Alcohol Drinks You Can Have
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- Website (James Swanwick)
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Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym is your host Darren Kirby.
Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode sixty three. And joining me on today’s show is James Swanwick from Swanwick Sleep.
And we’re going to be discussing about blue light and how this has a serious impact on our sleep and other areas of our health and well-being in 2015. James co-founded Swanwick Sleep with Brother Tristan and founded the Alcohol Freedom Formula, which produces programs including the 30 day No Alcohol Challenge and Project 90 to help people reduce or quit drinking.
Darren: Hi James, thanks very much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?
James: Well, thank you, Darren. Thank you for having me.
Darren: Yes, yes, great to have you on the show. And so for people, James, that haven’t perhaps come across yourself and Swanwick’s before, can you give us some background into James Swanwick and Swannies?
James: Yeah, I grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and, you know, I was a societally acceptable drinker in terms of drinking alcohol, never really got drunk too much.
But, you know, my sleep was pretty crappy and my looks were pretty average. And I’d put on a few pounds. And then I, I quit drinking in my mid 30s just as a lifestyle choice. And that set me down.
A rabbit hole of health and wellness became super focused on optimal sleep and optimal health. And yeah, in twenty fifteen I created a program named the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, which helps, you know, problem drinkers quit alcohol for a time, not necessarily alcoholics.
And then I also created a sleep company which produces these Swanwick’s blue light blocking glasses, they’re orange lensed glasses, which you wear when you’re using a computer or a screen, and the orange lens blocks the artificial blue light that’s emitted from those screens, which is so devastating to our sleep patterns.
So, yeah, I’ve helped a lot of people improve their sleep, improve their health by cutting drinking and by blocking blue light at night with these blue light blocking glasses so they sleep better.
Darren: Yeah, I mean, there’s some pretty significant things in terms of, you know, the drink side of things and we’ll dig into that in a moment.
But the blue light blocking glasses and that kind of I guess the whole kind of sleep health movement seems to have gained a lot of traction in the last couple of years. And so why would you say is it now that we are paying more attention to things like blue light and sleep and quality of sleep?
Well, because quality of sleep is so crappy in the modern world, so that’s why we’re paying closer attention to it, people’s weight is going up, people’s irritation is increasing, people’s poor sleep habits are increasing, which is unhealthy as we’ve ever been.
There’s never been higher levels of cancer, obesity, diabetes. And even though, you know, yourself and me and many others have been screaming from the rafters for a number of years now about best practices, when it comes to health, there’s just still hundreds of millions, billions of people around the world who are just ill informed.
Yeah, poor, uneducated, sufficiently enough to know that often the culprits include things that we take for granted that we actually think are good for us. So, for example, there are some ridiculous studies that suggest that drinking alcohol is good for your heart health. It’s preposterous.
You know, like so look, when you do research or you do your own investigation, you start to realize that everything you have learned you now need to unlearn. Yeah. And that includes things like a glass of wine at the end of the night. Helps you relax at the end of the day and help you sleep better.
Yeah, I wish absolute nonsense. You know, alcohol has been shown to compromise your sleep. And when you don’t spend as long in that deep restorative phase of sleep, you wake up irritable. Yeah, you don’t even have to wake up hungover. You just you’re just irritable because you didn’t sleep the way that nature intended you to sleep. Absolutely.
And then all of society is like, hey, get a Netflix account for seven dollars a month, super cheap and you can get a million TV shows and movies. And that’s great. I mean, look, I watch that. I have a Netflix account and I watch it.
But I’m watching it very sparingly, and when I do, I’m wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses that block that artificial blue light, because I know that staring into my screen at the end of the night and watching Netflix is going to stimulate my pituitary and pineal glands, which is going to suppress my melatonin production, which means I fall asleep quickly or sleep deeply awake up in the morning, feeling refreshed.
So, yeah, once you start to peel back the layers and see what the truth is, it becomes frightening.
Darren: Yeah, it is, isn’t it? And I think the other thing, you know, particularly from the alcohol side of things, well, actually is not just alcohol.
Is it sleep deprivation in general, you know, that has a real knock on effect for how we unconsciously go throughout our day. And what I mean by that is that when you are feeling slightly tired or slightly fatigued, yes, it affects your mood. But the other side of it is that, you know, your body will be naturally craving stimulant. So you will be going towards caffeine.
You began to sugary snacks and things like that to give you the boost to kind of get you throughout the day. So, you know, there’s some fantastic books out there on why we sleep. And yeah, I think the to touch on your point about the red wine on the alcohol. Yes. It might allow you to go to sleep, but it won’t give you, like you say, that restorative sleep.
James: Yeah, I mean, the. Everyone can sleep. I know people who say they drink a cup of coffee before they go to sleep and it helps them fall asleep at night and I go, OK, that’s good. It helps you fall asleep or you fall asleep just fine. But there is no way in the modern universe that we occupy that stimulant of coffee is not going to compromise your sleep. I mean, do your own research.
I would just maybe even try and getting it or a ring wearing it on your finger, going to sleep, tracking your sleep quality one night, have a glass of coffee or a cup of coffee every night. You do track your sleep quality. How long you stay in that deep and restorative phase next night.
Don’t have a cup of coffee and then and track your sleep and see whether it improves any. Yeah. You know, what gets measured, gets gained or tracking is everything. But don’t just take my word for it.
Darren: Yeah, 100 percent, yeah, I started snoring and is quite insightful for the various different stages of sleep that you go through.
So yeah, I highly recommend that. So you touch a little bit on it there. James, in terms of the science behind the blue light blocking glasses, we as a family now have Swannies. We wear them at night.
And I personally have noticed that it puts me into a much more sleepiest state before I actually go to bed. But just kind of delving a little bit to the science behind it, because a lot of people, when they first see these glasses and they first see you wearing them, they’re like, oh, this is a bit strange. This is not normal. What’s what’s all this about?
James: Well, first of all, let me just say what’s a bit strange and what’s not normal is standing or sitting down three feet from a massive screen. That’s blasting blue eyed into your eyes and you knowingly and willingly allowing that to happen and so compromising your sleep, waking up, irritable, snapping at your wife or your husband or your kids, being late for work because you’re tired being a six out of 10 in productivity and efficiency, because you’re tired and because you’re not focused.
And eating and overcompensating by eating sugary foods and then numbing yourself from the long, exhausting day with a glass of wine at the end of the day and then sitting down in front of the sofa and staring at a big screen again. So when you say, I don’t even I don’t even know what you mean when you say, oh, a lot of people see people wearing blue and glasses.
And this is a bit strange. It’s a bit weird. Yeah, it’s actually perfectly normal and logical. It makes perfect sense because, look, here’s the thing. Do you need to wear a pair of blue light looking glasses to sleep the way nature intended?
You know, or you got to do is just live your life by candlelight and never turn on an electronic, electronic, artificial light ever again. So that may never drive your car at night, never look into the speedometer, don’t have a microwave light, a refrigerator light, a bathroom, a kitchen light and alarm clock light.
Don’t use traffic lights, don’t use street lights. Basically just go back one hundred and something years before Edison, Mass Produced the light bulb and have gas lanterns and backyard fires and live your life by candlelight.
That is the most effective way for you to sleep. Yep, because flame natural flame does not compromise your melatonin production as opposed to artificial light today, which does compromise your melatonin production because it stimulates your pituitary and pineal gland, which suppresses melatonin. OK, so you’re so all the people who think wearing blue book and glasses is weird and strange, OK.
You can only go in light of kerosene lantern and and and buy a bunch of candles and just leave by candlelight because that’s your option. That’s that’s the only option. Do the next best thing, which is wear a pair of blue light blocking glasses with the orange lens, block out that crappy light and sleep the way nature intended you to sleep.
Darren: Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s when you when you explain it like that, it sounds simple and logical, but it’s I think the point I was trying to make is that, you know, when you step away from what’s perceived to be inverted commas, a social norm, you know, it’s different, isn’t it?
And people don’t like change. And it’s the change is only the change that you need to make, which is going to start to improve your life or improve things. The same thing is like health and fitness. Right. So, you know, is that kind of making that decision personally to change?
But we are so indoctrinated by society and following what is perceived to be a social norm that people question well, people question are a negative towards any kind of positive change until until they kind of really understand it.
And what the place I’m trying to go with this is why do you think something like the way you just explained it is very simple, basic and logical. Why do you think that society and the health systems are not trying to educate us in this type of way of living?
James: Well, there’s no money. There’s no money in prevention. Mm hmm. Like the compared to the money that Big Pharma and it can make from just making you feel better from existing ailments and sicknesses. Yeah, right. So everything is aimed at just getting you to buy stuff.
Right, and most of the stuff that people buy around health. It’s to fix things that are wrong with them. Yeah, right, you go to a doctor, you pay money, you get antibiotics, you pay for the antibiotics, you get prescription drugs, you pay for the prescription drugs.
You go to the pharmacy, you get Advil to fix your headache. Yeah, right. You go like we don’t tend to act until something is terribly wrong, like we’re sick. We’ve been hit by a car. We’re like we’re overweight. We’ve got to now we’ve got to go on a diet. We can do all these kind of things. Right. That’s where all the money is. That’s where all the money and all of these companies are. Right. But like doing something simple. Like drinking clean water and eating healthy food, making sure that it’s organic food. Yeah, and like, that’s a big business, but it’s nothing it’s a nothing business, the piddly little business compared to, you know, repairing the damage that’s already been done to your body.
So, you know, someone said something kind of cool, cool to me earlier today, which I wrote down, which I really like. And it was about advertising on television. You know, if you turn on the TV these days, a lot of the ads.
For products that are just not good for you. Yeah, and she and her phrase was, if it’s advertised on TV, it’s probably not good for me. Yeah, I like that.
I like that a lot. If it’s advertised on TV, it’s probably not good for me. And you think about it like even the drug commercials, like the you know, like for cold and flu tablets. And then they’ve got erectile dysfunction commercials on TV, sometimes on cable TV. And then that’s interspersed with all of this crap that society is trying to sell you like luxury cars and wiser and beer. And it’s just this crap. It’s like, yeah.
You know, we’re bombarded with that and we believe it’s true because, you know, that’s what we get into our brains.
Darren: Yeah, it’s really interesting. You’ve just said that, funnily enough, because when I’m training on my bike, I listen to Spotify and I’m a bit tired and don’t want to pay for the paid version of Spotify.
And so I have the free version, which obviously has ads. And the interesting thing is what you’ve just said there is around how we advertise bad stuff, but it’s framed as it’s good for us. And once you have that perspective, once you’ve kind of, I guess, had, you know, a wake up call and remove whatever, you know, for example, there’s a frequently run ad on there for heartburn tablets.
And it’s advertising basically to eat poorly and eat badly. But by basically taking these tablets, you can carry on eating your highly processed inflammatory fat foods and have your bad coffees and stuff like that.
And it’s just, you know, when you really understand it is kind of how is that allowed to go on? Because you’re completely opposite ends to what governments are perceiving we should be doing in terms of health and paying attention to our health. Yet, you know, they’re allowing all of these ads to be driven, which is basically making people unhealthy.
So I think that’s really interesting. I think that’s a really good, really good point made. So in terms of blue light blocking and Swannies James, you’ve also got a kids range. My two boys wear them in terms of blue light throughout the day. Obviously, we’re aware that we’re getting this from screens. But what are the other issues with light in general during the day? And why would you wear kind of they’re not as strong, are they, but the kind of filtering glasses throughout the day.
James: Yeah, so we produce two types of glasses, one of them has a very orange lens and the other one has more of an amber, almost clear lens. Yeah, so. If sleep is your goal, like if the best night’s sleep is your goal, then you want to wear the orange lens glasses at night time.
If you wear the amber or the clear lens glasses at night time, it’s not going to block enough of the blue light that’s responsible for messing with your melatonin production. So just like I said, most of advertising on TV is probably not good for you.
Any blue light blocking company that claims that their clear lensed or amber or yellow lensed blue light blocking glasses will help you sleep better. It’s just not true in the known universe that we occupy. Don’t just believe me. Do your own research. You should question everything, question everything and including me. Question me. Do your own independent research of what I’m just saying.
Don’t just trust what I’m saying because I have my own blue light looking glasses company. Do your own research. Right. But what you will discover is that there are dozens of blue eyed looking glasses, companies that claim that their glasses help you sleep better and and they’re producing and selling clearly the yellow lens glasses, if they just can’t block enough of that blue light that messes with the melatonin.
So you want to wear those orange lenses glasses at night time. Now, you can also wear the orange lenses, glasses during the daytime when you’re on a computer because they do block a lot of the blue light. The only issue that some people have is that they don’t want to be living in that kind of orange color eight hours a day on their screens.
Right. So in that case, what you can do is you can wear a clear lensed pair of blue light blocking glasses during the daytime. What would be more accurate a term is the blue filtering glasses rather than blue blocking glasses.
They filter a lot of the blue light, so they block a lot of it, but not all of it. And that will stop you or prevent you from getting digital eye strain and macular degeneration and losing your focus and being foggy and tired. Because if you’re standing only like a foot or two from a screen all day or sitting down, then that blue light is just blasting your eyes.
Right? It’s just eight hours a day. So you want to wear. So you got two choices in the daytime where the clear lens glasses to filter the blue light and ironically, wearing those daytime clear lens glasses in the daytime, they’re actually going to give you more clarity and more focus and more energy because it’s not going to tire you up so much.
And then at nighttime, you switch to the orange lens glasses, which blocks all of the nasty blue light which messes with your sleep. So using them in tandem is certainly a productive and healthy way of of improving your overall focus, energy and sleep quality.
Darren: Yeah, that makes sense, and I think you make another good, important point around, you know, do your own research, have a look at, you know, why this affects us sleep, why blue light is bad for us and what it does and what it doesn’t do. So I think yeah, some that’s a great point.
So, James, other than the blue light blocking glasses, is there anything else that Swallow’s is working on in terms of products?
James: Yeah, we’re just about to.. In fact, we’ve already launched them, I should say, a yellow light bulb which has stripped away all of the artificial blue light and it’s eight blocks. Ninety nine percent of the blue light. So you would take these light bulbs, replace them in your home, and it would produce this nice, very calming kind of orangey yellow feel to it.
So if indeed at night time you used to read with a bedside lamp with a normal light, you could take out that light bulb and put it in the light bulb, which is remove almost all of that artificial blue light.
Same thing, put it in your kitchen, put it in in your bathroom. It’s a very calming, very soothing kind of ambience that it creates rather than these nasty kind of overhead artificial bright white lights just tricking our bodies and brain into thinking that it’s daytime. We can put on these nice light bulbs that have blocked most of the blue light and we start to unconsciously and consciously start to prepare for sleep.
Darren: Yeah, yeah. That sounds awesome. So they’ve been launched already and they’re available now on the website.
James: Yeah, I have been, yeah. They’re called better nights so that it’s called the better night’s light bulb. They’re anti blue light bulbs for better sleep and you can use the bedside lamps or bathroom light children’s night light, you know, middle light bathroom bathroom trips.
Darren: Awesome. Sounds cool with check those out. So, James, what would you say in terms of a good sleep hygiene plan of the blue light blocking glasses are just one element of that. But have you got a hygiene plan or routine that you follow? And what five actions would you recommend that some that can take actually to improve their sleep?
James: Yes, the goal standard really is get as much natural sunlight as possible in the morning and block as much artificial light as possible in the evening. So our skin has receptors on it.
And when the sunlight hits our skin, it tells our bodies internal clock, which is named our circadian rhythm, that it’s daytime. And so our bodies flood with daytime and wake up hormones. Most dads and most people today wake up and they stay indoors for up to a couple of hours before they even go outside and get natural sunlight.
Some people don’t even leave the home at all, which is crazy. So first five, 10 minutes, use a bathroom, go outside and stand in the sun for five minutes, stand by a window.
If you’re drinking a morning tea or even if you’re having a coffee or whatever the morning routine is, then just stand by a window and let the light come in and hit your skin or go outside, because that will help you sleep later on at night. Obviously, we’ve talked about blocking blue light at night time. That’s important. In between that, they’ve done studies that show that morning exercise helps you sleep better, more so than evening exercise.
The thing it’s because of two reasons. One is people who exercise in the morning tend to do it more consistently, which means a healthier in general and healthier in general. People tend to sleep better.
And the second reason is, is that we want our core body temperature to remain nice and cool because optimal sleep comes from having a core in a cool environment and a cool body temperature. And the closer to bedtime you exercise, the harder it’s going to be to get that core body temperature down to a level that’s conducive for a great night’s sleep.
No caffeine within eight hours of wanting to sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant, takes eight hours for the stimulant to get out of your system. Even if you swear on your mother’s life that you can have a cappuccino for dessert and fall asleep just fine. The quality of your sleep is not going to be just fine. No alcohol within three hours of going to sleep.
I would just recommend just don’t drink alcohol at all. But no, not within three hours of sleep, because if you do have a glass of alcohol within three hours of sleep, then your liver and your body is going to be working to try and get rid of those toxins that you’ve just poured down your throat. Likewise, avoid eating in the last three hours before you want to sleep, as well as when you’re eating in that three hour block.
Your body is then working to digest the food and you don’t want your body to work during the night. You want to rest and relax. So if you’re planning on going to sleep at 10, have your last mouthful of food at seven.
If you go to sleep a bit earlier at 8:00, make sure that your last meal is at five and so forth. So these are pretty simple things. Maybe they don’t seem simple because we’re very set in their ways, human beings. We’re stuck in our ways. But, you know, you just got to choose which way you want to be stuck in. I’d much rather be stuck in a healthy way than a non healthy way.
Darren: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I think it’s the change is is the biggest issue for people.
We unconsciously are brought up in certain ways with certain routines and certain habits. And then to change feels difficult, feels awkward, feels uncomfortable. But like you say, you know, if you really have a desire to live a healthy and happy life, then you make these changes.
But like you say, said James, and that’s do your own research to make sure that it’s right for you. So, yeah, some great points there. At the top of the interview, James, you mentioned your alcohol program.
So before we wrap it up today, it be great if you could give us some insights into the program or how it works and how people can kind of connect with you on that.
James: Yeah, well, I help mostly over 40 men and women who know their drinking is holding them back. I help them to quit alcohol for at least 90 consecutive days. But really, it’s a lifestyle change.
It’s getting ultimate power over alcohol. Some people become clients of mine, choose to be alcohol free for life. Other people get to 90 consecutive days alcohol free. And then from there, they return to moderate drinking only. But they have complete power over their drinking. So I have two programs. One of them’s more of a baby step. Do it yourself. That’s the 30 day no alcohol challenge you can go to.
Thirty days, no alcohol challenge come. The other one is named Project Night and Project Ninety is more of a fundamental coaching program where we’re going to rewire your brain around alcohol.
So you are choosing to leave the alcohol free lifestyle as opposed to depriving yourself of alcohol. I have a podcast on iTunes and on Spotify. It’s named Alcohol Free Lifestyle, the Alcohol Free Lifestyle Podcast.
So if this is interesting, you can subscribe. That podcast and listen in, if you’re listening to this in the US and you’re on a mobile phone right now, I can send you some details if you like. I could send you a free guide. Just text the word quitte guide as in one word, quick guide to the number four four two two two. And I’ll send you that guide. If you’re not in the US, don’t do that because the number won’t work.
But if you are in the US, just send the word quick guide to the number four four two two two. And yeah, if you’re wanting to feel better, lose weight, improve your relationships, stop the endless vicious cycle of drinking.
At the end of the day, reach out to me. You can follow me on Instagram at James Swanwick or go to James Swanwick dot com for more details.
Darren: Awesome. Sounds fantastic, James.
So before I let you go, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you feel I should have done that would benefit the listeners?
James: I would say. What are the two worst alcoholic drinks you can have and assuming you’re about to ask me that question, yeah, they are red wine and beer, red wine and beer have the most toxins of any alcoholic drink in it. In fact, the drinks that we might think would be the most potent force are actually the healthiest.
And that’s that very clear spirits like tequila, for example, the spirits have the least amount of toxins in it, so. Is that due to the high alcoholic content or the way that it’s produced, it’s the way that it’s produced like red wine and coming from grapes and all of that process, it just creates a lot of toxins. Same with beer. Whereas together in those clear spirits, like vodka, it’s a much more cleaner process and less toxins. So.
Darren: Yes. And that’s really interesting and very insightful. James, thank you very much for your time on the episode today. And obviously, people you can reach out to James Swanwick on your website address and your Sociales.
And there’s also was the URL for the Swannies glasses. James Yeah.
James: If you go to Swannies dot com, slash James and if you use the code, James and check out, you can get my friends and family discount. Likewise, again, if you’re in the US on a mobile phone, you could also just text me the word Swannies to the number four four two to two, and I’ll send you a link for those as well, finding that you can just go to Swanwick sleep dot com, you can type in Swannies at Amazon. But if you want to get the friends and family discount probably best, you just go to Swannies dot com, slash James and use that code James and checkout.
Darren: Awesome. Well, thanks very much again, James, for coming onto the podcast, and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.
James: You’re welcome. Thanks Darren.
Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe. And I would really appreciate if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.