Do you ever wonder why it is hard to sleep sometimes when there’s too much light in the room? Believe it or not, light plays an important role in sleep, especially for children. In fact, lots of people in the world don’t get enough proper sleep regardless of their sleeping schedule. Why? Apparently, the list of reasons is not only limited to poor diet, excessive caffeine, stress, and poor mattress. The list goes on and one of them is due to the room’s light.
Being exposed to light first thing in the morning helps stimulate the body and mind to wake up. That’s why getting at least 8 hours of sleep and starting your day early in the morning is a great combination. The light can make you alert in the morning but it can also pose problems at night. Too much is not always good, especially if it’s the light that comes from electronic devices before and during bedtime. So, read on to learn more about the relationship between light and sleep.
Effect of Lights at Night
Some people can’t sleep unless they are wearing a sleeping mask or the room is completely dark. At the same time, some people can’t sleep unless the light is on. Thanks to the advent of electricity which started in the 20th century, artificial light was introduced. However, sleep problems also started to rise. A study on rodents also shows the negative effect of dim light at night. According to the study, too much exposure of rodents to dim light can trigger depressive symptoms.
After 4 weeks of exposure to light at night, the symptoms disappeared once the lighting conditions were returned to normal. Guess what; even the hamsters’ brains were able to return to normal after about 2 weeks of getting a normal light cycle again. With these findings, researchers found additional evidence that connects excessive exposure to artificial lights to the rising rates of human depression. According to one of the researchers – Tracy Bedrosion, the results they found are consistent with depression in humans.
But just like the observed recovery in hamsters, researchers also found that there’s still hope for us. If you stay up late watching TV or using a computer/laptop, you can still reverse some of its negative effects. This is by going back to your normal light-dark cycle and reducing your exposure to artificial light when you’re sleeping. This process blocks the effects of a protein called tumor necrosis factor found in hamster and the human brain.
Thus, it also prevents the development of symptoms similar to depression in hamsters when exposed to light at night. In humans, this can also hinder you from enjoying a healthy and refreshing sleep whether it’s day or night. Aside from having a hard time to sleep, many also experience frequent and long awakenings when exposed to light at night. If you suffer from the same experience, we’re sure that you already know the pain that it can cause.
Influence of Dark Room in Sleep
Now that we’ve tackled the dark side of sleeping in a bright room, let’s tackle the bright side of sleeping in a dark room. Even if the light is important to help us accomplish our day to day activities and work, it has limitations. When it comes to sleep, it is the best time to embrace darkness for a few hours to rest well. The darkness in the room sends a signal to the body that it is time to take a break.
“If you exposed yourself to light in the middle of the night, it can change your body’s internal clock. We all have an internal sleep clock which is a biological mechanism that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. When altered, this can affect the quality and quantity of sleep whether you like it or not. This is where melatonin enters the picture as the hormone which is produced from the brain’s pineal gland,”adds Linda Jones,a sleep expert at Mattress1000.com.
Melatonin is also known as the sleep hormone or darkness hormone which influences sends a signal to the brain to sleep. This signal helps the body to prepare for sleep. Once the brain released this hormone, it will encourage the muscles to relax and help the body’s physiological preparation. No matter what kind of position you prefer in sleep (side, back, stomach, or combo); it will increase your drowsiness.
In addition, it will cause your body’s temperature to drop to help you sleep better throughout the night or day. Of course, the level of melatonin in the body also varies depending on the time and sleeping environment. For instance, the melatonin levels in your body naturally rise in the early evening as darkness consumes bright sky. These levels continue to increase throughout the night before reaching its peak at 3 in the morning. Then, these levels start to fall naturally early in the morning and remain low during the day.
Room Preparation for a Better Sleep
Since we all need to rest, preparation for sleep is also important especially if you work at night. If you sleep in the morning, you can make your bedroom dark by using blackout curtains or blinds. If you sleep at night, you can dim the lights an hour before your bedtime to gradually prepare your body. As much as possible, use a dimmable bulb in your lamps or install a dimmer switch to control its brightness.
Remember, artificial light from digital devices contains a high concentration of blue light which affects sleep negatively. It may be helpful in the morning but not at night. So, be sure to power down devices such as a computer, tablet, and mobile phone. Keep your phone away from while you sleep and turn off the television an hour before your bedtime. Keeping a soft and comfortable eye mask is also helpful anytime you want to enjoy deep sleep.
This will protect your eyes from disturbing light and give you instant darkness to fall asleep faster. Wearing it in sleep may cause a bit discomfort at first but it’s very effective in limiting your exposure to light. With better sleep, you can also maintain a healthy mind and body.
Is it better to sleep in a dark room? The answer to this question is yes since it helps in producing melatonin while you sleep. Instead of using regular light bulbs, use red lights to ensure your deep sleep and safety when getting up at night. At the end of the day, you will reap the benefits of sleeping in a dark room to rest well.