In the months leading up to your wedding, you want to do everything in your power to be in tip top shape. Eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and following the best skincare routine. Yet one of the most important factors—getting enough sleep—can be the most elusive. It’s not uncommon to suffer from pre-wedding insomnia due to all the stress and excitement of planning a wedding.
Nowadays, there are so many products promising blissful sleep, whether it’s melatonin gummies, essential oils, or teas that are supposed to lull you into your dreams. But it’s not just a question of if they actually work but will you actually incorporate them into your nightly routine? I don’t know about you, but I can be tired all day and then right before bedtime, I’m miraculously buzzing with energy, googling all my existential questions, cleaning my apartment, and practicing my dance moves that I don’t even remember to make that special tea until it’s suddenly 12 or 1 AM.
So when I heard of a light that I only need to turn on for ten minutes before bed, I was intrigued. Vital Red Light harnesses the power of red and near-infrared light to improve your sleep and skin in a handheld device. “LED Light Therapy works by acting on the ‘power plant’ in your body's cells called mitochondria,” says Revay Plunkett, aesthetic nurse and founder of Revay Aesthetics. “With more energy, other cells can do their work more efficiently, such as repairing skin, boosting new cell growth, and enhancing skin rejuvenation.”
Meet the Expert
From my experience, it’s the easiest sleep aid to use and it actually works. Whether you are buying it for yourself or someone in the need of more shut eye, it's a wellness trend you won't regret.
Vital Red Light Vital Charge
Even though I’m not getting married anytime soon, I still struggle with sleep. I don’t have trouble falling asleep once I finally go to bed—which again is usually around 12 or 1 AM—but I often wake up a few hours before my alarm clock goes off. As soon as I start to stir awake, all of my worries, to-dos, and excitements come rushing back to me, making it impossible to resume my restful state. This is called Early Morning Awakening Insomnia, and though it may not sound as bad as staying up all night, it often prevents me from getting eight hours of sleep. I can only imagine how this would be heightened if I actually had a wedding on the horizon. Every time my eyes would flutter, I would see visions of my guest list, floral arrangements, and potential dresses in my head.
How it Works
You’ve probably heard a lot about light therapy recently—from skin treatments to hair growth. Developed by NASA in the 1980s, red light therapy has long been used by professionals but the rise of home devices like Vital Red Light have made it more accessible today.
“Red light therapy is a form of LED therapy which uses low-level wavelengths to penetrate the skin and stimulate melatonin production,” says Dr. Shelby Harris, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine. “The theory behind red light therapy is to simulate natural sunlight exposure, which can help get your circadian rhythm better aligned and improve sleep quality.”
While there have been a few studies showing promising results for using red light therapy as a treatment for insomnia, Dr. Harris says it’s a bit too soon to know the full benefits. So if your wedding is really keeping you up at night, it’s better to see a doctor. However, she says it doesn’t hurt to try red light therapy. Beyond the sleep benefits, it can also help heal the skin.
According to Dr. Lauren Penzi, board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, continuous exposure to red light can help reduce wrinkles, fade acne scars, and calm inflammation. Penzi says it takes anywhere from three to six months to see noticeable results, so it’s not something you can just try the night before your wedding. It’s safe for all skin types, yet those with any diseases that involve the retina of the eye, such as diabetes, or who take photosensitizing medications should first consult a doctor.
I received a sample of the Vital Charge, which is about the size of an iPhone. Despite the small size, it lights up my entire bedroom with a warm red glow. I Iove that I can easily move it anywhere I want in my apartment, and can even take it on trips thanks to its handy carrying case. The device comes with everything you need, including a stand, charger, and glasses.
Currently the light sits on my nightstand. Once I climb into bed, I turn off all my lights and turn it on. The charge is programmed to run for 10 minute intervals, which is perfect for falling asleep. I can read, mediate, or simply lie in bed without having to move an inch to turn it off later. Often, I doze off even before the light does. Yet if I’m still awake when it goes out, it’s a good way to keep track of how long I’ve been lying in bed without looking at the clock or my phone.
After about three months of use, I can’t say I’ve seen a drastic improvement in my skin, yet I definitely feel a difference in my sleep. I’ve come to associate basking in the warm, red glow as a time to put my phone away and curl up under my covers. Just as you feel relaxed watching the sunset, a calmness comes over you in the red light. Not only do I fall asleep faster, but on the nights that I use it, I tend to sleep longer and more peacefully. Nope, my deadlines and shopping lists are no longer haunting me in my head.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that we all need some small ritual to symbolize bed time. While some people may have their cup of chamomile tea or mediation session, I prefer the laziest habit of soaking up red light while laying in my bed anyway. Whether you are struggling to maintain your sleep hygiene due to all those wedding deadlines or a friend’s been venting about their lack of sleep, Vital Red Light is a wellness gift actually worth buying.
Why Trust Brides
Emily Cieslak is an Assistant Commerce Editor. In addition to writing for Brides, she has covered health and wellness topics for sites like Real Simple, Treehugger, and Intrigue Magazine. She received a complimentary sample of the Vital Red Light charge and began testing it at home for the last three months. To get more context on how red light therapy impacts sleep, she interviewed Dr. Shelby Harris, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine and the Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis. She also spoke to aesthetic nurse Revay Plunkett and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lauren Penzi to learn about the skin benefits.