As we get into warmer weather throughout spring and summer, the days are getting longer and are impacting our sleep.
How does light affect our sleep?
There's a ton of research floating around the internet talking more and more about how light affects our brain's ability to know when it's time for us to sleep and when it is time for us to wake. In the morning, the cool, white light of the dawn triggers our body to wake and feel energized throughout the day. As the sun begins to set, sunlight begins to shift to a warm orange hue, and in the evening this triggers our brain to begin producing melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by own body's pineal gland located in the brain. As a result, we begin to feel more sleepy and less alert. It's nature's way of telling us, time for bed!
But researchers have seen a correlation between the introduction of more and more devices into one's home and the increase in insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation reports that 95% of people use a computer or electronic device right before bed. Electronic devices, like your cell phone and television, emit a blue light which has been shown to inhibit the production of melatonin. This is the opposite of what your brain needs in order to relax and help you feel sleepy at night.
There are many things you can do to help you get a better night's sleep:
- Use dim red or orange light at night instead of cool, white light. Many CFL and standard LED light bulbs have a blue hue to the light so ilumi LED Smartbulbs can provide you with the flexibility at night to set your lights to the optimum color to help you feel relaxed at night.
- Avoid looking at your phone, computer or TV right before bedtime to reduce your exposure to blue light.
- If you work the night shift, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or activating "Night shift" mode on your iPhone so that you can keep your brain on the right schedule.
- Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, to help you feel energized and boost your natural ability to fall asleep at night.