Light VS Sleep
Light is one of the most important factors that affects our ability to have a restful sleep. Light plays a central role in regulating circadian rhythm which is the clock that tells our body and brain when to be alert and when to be restful – we call this the sleep/wake cycle.
We have evolved for the following – when it is light, this is the time to be awake and alert then when its dark – this is the time to sleep. A simple evolutionary trait.
However, we live in a modern world where most of us live in light until the moment we sleep, even then we have light surrounding us, usually from TV, streetlights and mobile phones.
Here is a simple breakdown of what happens, understand this and you’ll be on your way to better sleep already.
We wake, is light and a hormone called melatonin is very low in our brain. As the day progresses and the light decreases our melatonin hormone increases in our brain, when it gets really dark our melatonin is at an all-time high, and our body and brain is in the perfect biological state to sleep.
Very simple. Or is it? Well, not anymore.
With the likes of TV, Phone, Streetlights and house lights being all too present in our evenings this is stopping our melatonin from increasing so our brain thinks that the time to sleep is not now!
Ask yourself this – What in my evenings could be contributing to keeping me awake? Its mainly light!
What Can You Do?
You could live in the dark ages and have zero light present in your evenings. Although that doesn’t sound like much fun at all.
So, below are a few things you can do to counteract this.
- Wear blue light filter glasses in the evenings – this reduces the amount of light being absorbed into the eyes allowing melatonin to increase.
- Turn off the lights or if you can, turn them down.
- Don’t play on your phone 2 hours before going to sleep, IF you need to – turn the brightness down as low as possible for you to still be able to see the screen
- Keep TV to a minimum during the evening
- Don’t sleep with a TV on OR set a timer for it to go off 30 minutes after you fall asleep
- Keep the room you sleep in as dark as possible
These are just a few quick pointers to illuminate light before bedtime – you’ll thank yourself the morning after.