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Have you ever wondered what is in the dark while you sleep? Sleep better, of course! The real boogeyman (bad mood, health complications, more accidents) comes when you sleep in your bedroom with too much light.
It is fairly well established: sleeping with the lights on is not good for people.
Research has shown that sleeping with the lights on makes sleep easier (excuse the pun), wakes up more often, and affects brain activity! Read on to learn more about why darkness is best for resting.
Imagine how black the night was before the invention of artificial light? If the sun had set at 7:00 p.m., you could go to bed or fumble in the fire light.
Once a month you could sunbathe in the light of the full moon to pamper yourself. Now your home can be lit 24 hours a day. Well, friend, there are ramifications for all of this lighting.
- later went to bed
- woke up later
- slept less
- were more sleepy during the day
- were less satisfied with the duration and quality from their sleep
If so much sleep disorder is related to outdoor lights imagine the impact of bright light bulbs and light-emitting devices aimed directly at your face!
Something as innocent as reading an e-book before bed can also mean that it takes more time to fall asleep, suppress melatonin production, reduce and delay REM sleep, and become less vigilant the next morning be.
If your sleep cycle is "off", what does this mean for general health? Take a look at this …
Strange bedmates: sleep and weight
People who sleep less than 6 hours a day tend to have larger bodies. Weight gain is associated with obstructive sleep apnea, inadequate sleep syndrome and narcolepsy.
Scientists believe that this is due to the fact that a healthy sleep cycle is required so that the body can use energy properly and produce ideal hormone levels that influence weight regulation.
If you don't get enough sleep, you can eat more during the day (for example, chasing a burst of energy from savory foods to make up for your missing zzz).
If you get up late, you'll feel depressed.
The relationship between sleep and depression is actually a one-way street – depression causes poor sleep, and poor sleep can worsen depression.
Researchers say that people with depression have problems with REM and non-REM sleep and sleep continuity. Taking antidepressants also appears to interfere with REM sleep.
Sleep electroencephalograms can prove useful in the diagnosis and evaluation of therapies for depression.
Good sleep for safety first
If you sleep less than recommended (7 to 9 hours a night for adults), you will be less alert during the day. Slow thinking and slow reaction times lead to more accidents while driving and doing other physical tasks.
Not sleeping means serious health risks.
Who is probably having the biggest problems sleeping in complete darkness? People who work shifts and have to sleep during the day.
Studies have shown a connection between shift work and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Scientists who reviewed literature on these topics found that shift work and insufficient sleep had similar effects on the risk of cardiometabolic diseases and accidents.
- A short nap. If you want to take a very light nap for an energy boost, turning on the lights can help you avoid falling into an hourly coma and wondering what day it is today.
- Frightened little one. For children who are afraid of the dark, a small night light can do less harm than late bedtime and anxiety. Plan to turn off the extra light, or try a night light that goes out after your child falls asleep.
- Older adults. Older people with impaired eyesight or physical dexterity may prefer a light to relieve their fear of falling when they get up at night.
Light travels through your eyes to the hypothalamus in your brain. In the hypothalamus is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (so cool, isn't it ?!), which interprets the exposure to regulate your daily rhythm. Circadian rhythms are responsible for sleep, alertness, body temperature, metabolism and the release of hormones.
The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin based on information it receives from the suprachiasmatic nucleus.
If your eyes are flooded with light before going to bed, you are not producing enough melatonin to fall asleep and sleep well. That is why it is so important to synchronize our indoor climate with the natural light and dark rhythm of the rising and setting sun.
If you fall asleep, too much light can affect your ability to achieve REM sleep and other sleep phases. All phases of sleep are important for your brain and your body.
Why should you bother to sleep well at all? Here are just a few ways that good sleep makes life better:
- healthy metabolism
- better immune function
- improved ability to learn and remember memories
- better physical performance
- improved cardiovascular health
- less risk of depression
- lower inflammation
Most light bulbs mimic natural light and cause your brain to stay awake. Red traffic lights, however, do not seem to have the same stimulating effect. Try them out in your bedroom or in the night light.
If you can't control the lights, add at least some of these healthy recommendations to your sleep routine:
- Stick to a schedule, go to bed, and wake up to Every Day at the same time.
- Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day (at least a few hours before bed).
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed.
- Do something relaxing before bed, like reading or taking a bath.
- Reduce as much light and noise as possible in your sleeping environment.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid watching TV or using a computer in bed.
- If you I can't fall asleep, get up and do something and then try to lie down again.
These tips can help you get your natural sleep / wake cycle going:
- Get some light during the day – either from sunlight or an artificial light box that simulates the sun.
- Try light blocking curtains or a sleep mask and keep the light from darkening when you wake up at night.
- If you work at night and sleep during the day, try dark sunglasses as soon as your shift ends to signal the brain that you are ready for sleep.
Your brain must be exposed to a natural cycle of darkness and light in order to achieve ideal sleep duration and quality.
If you live in a brightly lit area before going to bed, melatonin is suppressed and your sleep suffers. They may also be more prone to accidents, depression, and chronic illnesses.
Hack your sleep superpower by adopting good sleeping habits and keeping the bedroom as dark as possible.