IMG Models and twin brothers Zac and Jordan Stenmark were discovered by Tom Ford and have since had a career that any model would envy: a GQ cover with Kylie!, Ralph and Calvin campaigns! The cover of The Daily! Now they’re adding budding entrepreneurs to their resume. The Australia-natives have spent years working with acclaimed scientist Dr. Stafford W. Sheehan to invent neuroscience-based eyewear to help you sleep better. Worn for a minimum of 30 minutes before bed, the Dreamers Sleep lens has been scientifically developed to block 99.9% of the entire sleep-disrupting blue-green light spectrum, which make it difficult for people to sleep. The Stenmark boys tell us all about Dreamers, which launches today in the U.S.
How did this idea come to you?
Jordan: They say necessity is the mother of invention. So about five years ago, we were often run-down from working long hours at different shoots and shows and doing a lot of travel. Not being able to sleep well started to impact our health, which ultimately affected our ability to work and impacted our entire way of life. We decided we had to look into the whole realm of sleep and how to get our sleep wake cycle or circadian rhythm back in sync.
What took five years to create?
Zac: For the first two years we did a large amount of reading about sleep and its relationship to overall health. One of the key things we learnt was that overexposure to artificial blue and green light at night, strongly influences our ability to sleep. We decided we needed to meet scientists in the field in order to get a greater understanding of the facts. We met neurologist Professor Andrew Huberman (Stanford University) to discuss our idea and were encouraged to go to the next step. We then met chemical physicist Dr Stafford Sheehan (Yale), who is now our chief scientist, and started the process of actually inventing our patent pending Dream Tech™ lens. Research and development definitely turned out to be an incredibly complex process and, like many things, it all took so much longer than expected. Finally we perfected our Dream Tech™ lens and here we are launching our sleep health company Dreamers.
You’re partners on this. How are you dividing the responsibilities in launching the product?
Jordan: Like every startup, it is all hands on deck but we are co-CEOs. I’m doing more of the finance and logistics and Zac is doing the marketing and creative. But in effect we are both heavily involved in each facet of the business for the time being. We’ve had help from advisors/specialists in a whole range of areas, not to mention our sister Zoe with digital expertise and creative and styling.
You have two frames available now. What are the differences?
Zac: We have three color skus for each of our two frames: clear, back, and tortoise shell frames. The two frames are called Lucid for our Sleep lens and Vivid for our Screen lens. With the Dreamers Sleep Lucid eyewear, the aviator shape blocks 99.9% of artificial, blue, green light. The second are the D-frame Wayfarer shape, which block 99.9% of artificial blue light. They are generally used indoors in daylight hours while working or studying using screens including smartphones, computers, TVs, and LEDs that emit artificial light.
Tell us a little bit about blue and green light and why it’s making it harder for people to fall asleep.
Jordan: Artificial blue and green light after sundown from smartphones, laptops, TVs, and LED lights disrupts the body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin* which is largely responsible for helping us fall asleep. Importantly, natural blue and green light during the day from the sun promotes the alertness hormone cortisol, which we basically need to function while awake. But overexposure to artificial blue green light from screens at night, impacts our sleep wake cycle—i.e. our circadian rhythm—which may impact our sleep and can lead to serious health issues. (*Sleep isn’t the only body function affected by melatonin. This hormone also plays a role in the body’s antioxidant defenses and helps regulate blood pressure, body temperature and cortisol levels, as well as sexual and immune function.)
Are you allowed to watch TV or use your phone with the glasses on?
Jordan: Yeah we made the product so that you can go about your life using your screens namely TVs, smartphone, computer, tablets, iPhone, etc. and not have the blue green light that stops the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. We know that people aren’t going to put their devices down.
Are the lenses unisex?
Jordan: Absolutely yes. We developed Dreamers so that almost anyone can wear our product. We are also making Dreamers kids eyewear given they are also exposed to artificial blue green light from their screens.
How are you planning to market Dreamers?
Jordan: Dreamers are available exclusively online at www.dreamers.company from today in the U.S., and tomorrow in Australia. We have a comprehensive long term media campaign including mainstream and social media with ongoing PR campaigns.
This seems like a crazy question, but why is getting a good amount of sleep so important?
Zac: It’s true that good sleep is a key pillar of a healthy life. Sleep allows us to recharge our batteries so to speak. The human body has tiny engines in each cell called mitochondria. These engines need to be recharged in order for the body to function properly. Over exposure to artificial blue green light at night from screens reduces the body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. As a result we have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Continued lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of health issues such as anxiety and depression, heart disease, decreased memory and brain function, decreased immune system, weight gain, and diabetes, among other things.
How are you hoping to see this grow?
Zac: We are a sleep health company and Dreamers eyewear will be offering many frame styles together with Dreamers prescription eyewear. We will also be offering various other products that relate to sleep.
What was your last dream about?
Jordan: We dream Dreamers almost non-stop!
You’ve been living in Australia for the past year. Any idea when you’ll be coming back to New York?
Zac: We are hoping to get back to NYC this year. Of course it’s very dependent on how things are tracking with the pandemic. Hopefully [we’ll be back in] September or October of the year. We definitely miss our friends in NYC.