How Light Effects Sleep

Most of us know it is much easier to sleep when our bedroom is dark, however; the link between light and a good night’s sleep goes much deeper.  Exposure to light at night can hinder transition between sleep cycles; therefore, decreasing the quality of sleep.  Light plays a major role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm.  That internal clock that signals us when to be alert and when to rest. 

Normal sleep patterns usually follow the course of the sun.  It comes up, we wake up.  It goes down signaling that it is time for sleep. But in our modern world of electricity, it makes illumination a constant.  From the indoor lighting, cell phones, and streetlights it gives our life a 24/7 source of brightness.  This abundance of light affects our circadian rhythm, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns. 

Melatonin known as the sleep hormone, plays a significant role in the sleep-wake cycle.  As the sun goes down, our body increases the production of this hormone, promoting healthy sleep. However, with our constant exposure to light that production naturally decreases, effecting our body’s ability to get a good night sleep.  Many people take this as a supplement at night to help promote sleep, myself included.  But, could it be possible to put down the ipad before bed or wear a sleep mask and let our bodies do their innate work?

Source: WebMD

Here are a few tips to help decrease light at bedtime and get your best night sleep possible. 

  1. Invest in blackout curtains – think Las Vegas hotel room
  2. Wear an eye mask – there are some cute ones out there
  3. Dim the lights or use ambient lighting a few hours before bed
  4. Stow away electronics – get rid of the awful red glowing alarm clock
  5. Install a motion activated nightlight for that midnight trip to the bathroom
  6. Get rid of the TV in your bedroom – I promise you will be fine without it

Conclusion

We need sleep to function. We all feel great after a great night sleep, so why not allow our bodies to have the best chance at making that possible. Find ways to decrease the light in your bedroom giving us those well deserved zzz’s. Allow your body to ramp up that melatonin, so that you can go kick ass the next day without dark circles and bags under your eyes. Just saying, that’s not a good look for anyone.

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