If you’re a “creative professional” the chances are extremely high that you live in the dark. As a film editor, I have to spend all day in a dark room…it’s just a requirement of the job. And while many people in my profession like to joke about occasionally exposing themselves to that “funny glowing ball in the sky,” there’s nothing funny about the long term effects of not getting enough exposure to light (anxiety, depression, and burnout being on the short list).
But if your career requires you to live inside a dark room all the time, there’s nothing that can be done, right? Not so fast.
Thanks to a new light therapy device called The “HumanCharger” (use the coupon code ‘OPTIMIZE’ for 20% OFF), even if you have no opportunity to get outside during daylight hours you can still reap the mental and physical benefits you would receive from exposure to the sun….but in 12 minutes a day via…earbuds?
Yes, the HumanCharger is a device no larger than an iPod Nano, but rather than emitting sound, the earbuds emit full spectrum UV-free white light that is absorbed by photo-sensitive proteins in your brain. No, this isn’t the future – intracranial light therapy…is real.
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, this is a VERY new science and much is unknown about why this treatment works (and if it does even work at all). But when it comes to anything that could improve my well-being while stuck in a dark room, I’m happy to be an early adopter knowing there is little downside with tremendous potential for upside, assuming this device and type of light therapy are truly legit.
DOES THIS THING ACTUALLY WORK?
I’ll admit I was über skeptical when I first discovered this device, and frankly I thought it could just be a scam. But given that I discovered it from one of my most trusted health & biohacking resources Ben Greenfield who swears by his HumanCharger, I figured if I gave it a try the worst that would happen is it totally sucked (or my brain would melt…but that was a remote possibility).
However, if it actually lived up to its promise of improving energy levels, increasing mental alertness, and lifting mood by simply using it 12 minutes a day in the morning, the best thing that would happen is finally having a solution to my desperate need for more sunlight during the day. And since I wasn’t required to ingest anything, even if it was just the placebo effect, who cares? I would still feel better.
Given that I was about to begin a two month long marathon editing a tv pilot for 12+ hours every day in a windowless room, I decided to take a chance and test out the HumanCharger for 4 weeks, and convinced my tech advisor and fellow editor Adam Bedford to test it out as well.
According to Adam, “My first impression was that it was just a weird looking iPod. I thought it played soothing sounds. Imagine my surprise when the earbuds lit up!”
After using it every 3 hours between 7am and 8pm (each session is 12 minutes) for 30 days, Adam’s initial reaction was a slight increase in focus and energy which lasted for about an hour or so. But after the end of week two, Adam said:
“My energy levels had risen considerably along with my ability to focus. Overall I felt a lot calmer the second week and the energy boost after each session lasted longer.”
Once the 30 day trial period was complete and Adam stopped using the device he said he didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms, but what he did notice was how different he felt when he didn’t use the device consistently. “My sleep had improved from 5-6 hours per night to 7-8 hours during the 4 week test, but shortly after finishing my 30 days I was back to 5-6 hours per night.”
As far as my own experience, I’ll admit I picked a very bad time to test this device without other external variables having an effect on the outcome. I was making significant changes to my diet and exercise routines, I was also battling a major case of depression, anxiety, and burnout (which I’ll post more about soon). To say the effects I felt from using the device consistently for 8 weeks were solely from the HumanCharger would be irresponsible. But in short, I too noticed a slight increase in focus during the day and lessened effects of anxiety. I also felt much more aware of the time of day despite not seeing windows or the outside world for entire days on end.
Here’s what I can say definitively about this device that BLEW ME AWAY. My circadian rhythm shifted drastically over the course of using it upon waking every morning for just 4 weeks. I’ve never been a morning person…ever (ask my parents or my wife). For my entire life I’ve found it nearly impossible to wake up before 8am without constantly hitting the snooze button. Now that I use the HumanCharger every morning when I do my morning meditation, I wake up energized (without any alarm clock at all) at 5:30am.
That’s not a typo…I now wake up refreshed at 5:30 am every morning…without an alarm.
There is no way that’s just a placebo effect. And the effect has stuck for months.
LISTEN TO LEARN MORE
If you’d like to learn more about why this device was invented and how intracranial light therapy works, listen to my podcast interview with Timo Ahopelto and make your own judgment (scroll to the top of this page to listen directly in this browser tab).
Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- Finland’s struggle with natural light, especially in the winter months (and how it inspired the invention of the HumanCharger)
- The science behind ‘Intracranial Light Therapy’
- Exposure to sunlight and its effects on your mood
- How a lack of sunlight can cause food cravings (especially for junk)
- Some basic science behind circadian rhythms and hormonal balance
- Taking ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ seriously
- Jet lag’s relationship to sleep and the sun
- How the HumanCharger can eliminate your morning exhaustion
- Using the HumanCharger to reverse the negative effects of shift work (i.e. working late at night)
Useful Resources Mentioned:
Timo Ahopelto, founding partner at Lifeline Ventures as well as an executive board member at Valkee (the company that makes the HumanCharger) has worked in several industries, ranging from biotech to apps, digital media and process technology. He earned his entrepreneur MBA from CRF Health, a software and services company that he co-founded, developed into a global market leader and successfully exited in 2015. Timo’s free time flies with family, ice hockey, iron and in Lapland skiing-hikes.
The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.