Have you ever stayed up late watching TV or scrolling on your phone? Do you wake up feeling groggy and tired the next morning? Light has a dark side and just may be the culprit that is stopping you from leaping out of bed in the morning.
Light can have a positive and negative impact on our sleep, depending on when and how we use it. Light during the day is vital; it aligns our internal body clock and stimulates the brain.
We can harness the positive effects of light by opening the blinds or going for an early morning walk. Natural sunlight spurs the body’s production of vitamin D and controls the release of hormones essential for good health and quality sleep.
Light in the hours before bedtime may affect our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. In particular, blue light emitted from smartphones, TVs, computers or LED lights suppresses the release of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone.
The blue light tricks our brain into thinking it’s time to be awake, when really, it should be preparing for sleep. Avoiding blue light where possible is essential, especially within the hour before bedtime, when getting ready for sleep.
The only light that is beneficial for sleep is red light, as it naturally increases the production of melatonin. By introducing red light into your bedtime routine, it can act as a signal to help relax your mind and body in preparation for sleep.
Light is only one example of how easily our sleep quality can be affected. Quality sleep is so important for our overall health and wellbeing, with research showing links between poor-quality sleep and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression and obesity.
It’s inevitable that as the sun goes down, the lights come on and while I wouldn’t suggest cooking dinner in the dark or only having red light and candles to light your home, it is what you do within the hour before bedtime that is most important.
So tonight, when you go to reach for your phone or TV remote, try doing the following instead:
· Put screens away an hour before bed
· Turn on a red light or light a candle
· Pick up a book or write in a journal
· Listen to a guided sleep meditation
If you want to take control of the light in your bedroom, A.H. Beard’s Nox Smart Sleep Light has a spectrum of lights that will help you get the quality sleep you deserve. Utilise the bright light in the morning to stimulate sunrise to help you wake up naturally, and enjoy the red light at night to increase melatonin for a deep, restful sleep.
For more tips and advice on how you can improve your life through sleep, head to @a.h.beard on Instagram and follow Rachel @rachelbeardsleeps