AYO experience: Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder
Quick Review: It works, buy it – the best product on the market to treat SAD. Highly recommend, worth the price and much more. Build quality, functionality and design are top grade and comfort and utility receive high marks! It’s an effective treatment for SAD and Insomnia which are both circadian rhythm issues. With proper timing and light and darkness enforced symptoms of SAD go away and sleep cycle returns to normal.
Disclosure: I have no financial interest in the Ayo, I have nothing to gain other than sharing my experience in hopes that it helps someone else.
I am a software engineer who suffers from extreme Seasonal Affective Disorder, for those who suffer I don't have to explain how crippling this illness is during the winter months. As a software engineer who works remote and spends a lot of time indoors, I can tell you it's been a challenge getting the required light. I've been proactive as possible in the treatment of my SAD having tried everything and having read the SAD BIBLE by Dr. Norman Rosenthal "Winter Blues". I have tried every product and vitamin for SAD and it's amounted to just "barely functioning" during the winter months.
My SAD treatment before the AYO:
- Extremely high dose of Vitamin D3 (12,000 IU) per day
- Dawn simulator
- Extreme amounts of light therapy during day
- Blue light canceling glasses for going to sleep at night (enforcing pattern of light and dark!)
Negatives of SAD Lamp:
False sense of energy, feelings "wired" and eye strain. And location isolation - you can't really take it with you anywhere, it's too large and bulky to transport easily. So you're forced to have one at home, one at the office etc... and you feel isolated in where you can "go-to" during the winter months. Secondly, SAD lights do not provide that sensation that a blue sky during summer does, they make you feel like you've had too much caffeine and make you feel wired, sensations such as eyes pulsing and anxiety are side effects of using these 10,000 LUX Sad lamps.
What are the differences between a SAD lamp and the Ayo?
Now that you've gotten a little bit of understanding of SAD lamps, let me tell you what makes the Ayo a truly amazing product. The Ayo is in summary a functional, portable, easy to use, fashionable, real-world solution to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. It has quickly become my favorite product and has allowed me complete recovery of SAD during the winter months.
What makes the Ayo different from other Light Therapy glasses?
User Experience and Product Design:
The team beyond the Ayo has thought really hard on "real" people who have complex lives in the design of this product, I'm going to share a few competitive advantages that the Ayo has over other glasses.
- Lightweight glass frame - the actual glasses are very compact and light(weight/size) allowing for less gear on your head. The Ayo team decided to place a smaller battery in the glass frame and a backup battery in the eggshell (carrying case). The concept is that you use a "charge" in the glasses for a few sessions then place back into eggshell to recharge for your next session. This is really smart because in terms of usability it's highly unlikely for you to need to use the Ayo for more than the max 40 min session. This trade-off allows the following, sleek thin and compact frame and eggshell charger for more battery. This alone is a major difference between other light therapy glasses which put the full battery into the glasses making them bulkier and less usable in the real world. You can't walk into a cafe with a helmet on (other SAD glasses) vs the Ayo which is fashionable and more "normal" and doesn't invite too much attention.
- Backup battery and carrying eggshell - this is really where this product shines, the battery eggshell case is really convenient, it allows for safe transportation of the Ayo in your bookbag etc and makes it easy to keep everything together.
- Specialized light spectrum benefits - now this is where the "magic" actually happens,
traditional SAD lamps and SAD glasses hit your eyes with VERY bright white light
with a little bit of blue light mixed in. This is a really bad mistake from a
misunderstanding of the light spectrum and it's relationship to SAD symptoms, when
the original SAD light studies were being conducted there were limited options in
terms of light bulbs, LEDs weren't really around or cost-effective and this has lead
to a huge misunderstanding in the treatment of SAD. For those of you who have SAD,
do you feel best when it's summer but partly cloudy or clear and blue sky? It's not
the intensity of light that is most important for the treatment of SAD but the quality
of light spectrum. Why do traditional full spectrum LEDs make SAD suffers feel horrible
after about 15 mins? Because when you look at the spectrum produced by these glasses
they have an extremely larger spike in the blue light spectrum!!!!! This same issue
exists in the SAD lamps and SAD glasses that emit "white" light currently, they
produce too much high energy in the blue light spectrum, which makes you feel overloaded quickly.
The Ayo team has done something truly amazing, without getting too technical, they've isolated the color spectrum down into just the "blue" that is good for your eyes and less likely to be damaging. If you want to get technical you can read their site and a few published articles. But what this means is the Ayo team has really tuned the light produced by the LEDs into the right spectrum needed to allow your eyes to trigger and suppress melatonin and stop with the funny business in the winter.
What does it feel like to use the Ayo?
First, the brightness intensity is not overwhelming, at first when I used the glasses I thought I had a dimmed setting on, because the intensity of the lights is really low, it feels very comforting on the eyes. But after using the glasses for a session I got the sensation similar to being outside on a summer day, optimism towards life, high energy, and calmness. At first, I thought this was a placebo but nope, it happened after each session. Secondly, because these glasses use targeted blue light, the required duration needed to get rid of SAD symptoms is greatly reduced, I use these for 15min sessions about 1-3 times a day as needed (early morning and a little bit after 12 PM). Vs the 4 hours, I'd have to use my SAD lamp previously.
Do the Ayo glasses prevent you from seeing while using them?
Other SAD glasses emit too much white light which can cause you to be blind in a poorly lit room unless that room is also lit. But because the brightness intensity is low with the AYO I could actually walk around a dim room without bumping into things! This alone is really useful. You can actually get things done while wearing them!
- Utility - the overall packaging, product design, and application make the Ayo really
easy to use in real life. I would never ever take my SAD lamp out with me and I
can't imagine myself using the other SAD glasses because of how weird and bright
they are, they attract too much negative attention. But the Ayo in real life is
surprisingly normal, it doesn't stand out, it doesn't cause confusion from strangers
and doesn't draw attention. I've only had very minor curiosity towards it. The
product is built to last, it's built to be used by real people and it's that amazing.
The production quality is really high!
What has this done to my life and my outlook on winter?
I cannot remember the last time I've enjoyed autumn or winter, I say this truthfully and honestly - I have dread and anxiety when the first signs of autumn or winter start showing. But for the first time in my adult life, I am enjoying cold weather and cloudy skies. I no longer check what the weather is nor do I worry about cloudy days. I've actually started to appreciate the seasons changing and honestly find winter more appealing now. To the point that moving to a cloudier colder climate doesn't scare me. I am no longer geographically-light constrained, I am truly free to go anywhere and be myself all times throughout the year. The Ayo has allowed me to "live" my life like a normal person again, it's given me freedom and it's freed me from the prison of SAD.
P.S if you needed any further reason to purchase the Ayo, their customer support is superb!!!!
When my order was delayed due to black Friday shipping issues the Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer Alex reached out directly to me and worked to get my package through as quick as possible. The company really cares and is really here to help people. For those who think the price is outrageous remember that it's not just the product that is important but the support that comes with it when it comes to a device such as the Ayo you want great support and development to continue. This is partially why the price is higher, also recognize that the product is selling in limited volumes, how many people would actually buy a product like this unless they're suffering from Insomnia or SAD? The price is very competitively priced and the little increase vs the competing products is well worth it. How much is your quality of life worth? How much is it worth to be yourself more during the year? What would you be willing to pay for that? Those are the questions I asked when making this purchase.