Lights Out // The Importance of Sleep
Sleeping well directly affects your physical and mental health, and the overall quality of your life. Lack of sleep can have negative effects on your daytime energy, productivity, physical health, emotional balance, and even your weight. Since there are many factors that affect sleep let’s start with the basics.
Control your exposure to light!
A naturally occurring hormone called melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Light exposure controls when your brain produces melatonin. When it’s light it produces less, making you more alert, and when it’s dark it produces more, making you sleepy.
Here are some steps to improving the timing of your melatonin production and improving your sleep.
During the day:
- Expose yourself to bright sunlight, preferably closer to the time you get up.
- Go for a walk in the morning.
- Enjoy your coffee outside.
- Open the blinds at home and work letting the natural light wakes you up!
Devices are available to help mimic sunlight if you are unable to get outside during the day. One example of the device is the Human Charger.
Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light produced by electronics is especially bad because it causes the body to suppress the release of .
If you can’t avoid devices you can:
- Try wearing blue light blocking glasses
- Install software that reduces blue light emissions, flux (www.justgetflux)
- This software program adjusts your computer according to the time of day. While eliminating the screens or wearing the glasses is more effective, this is a great place to start.
Blue light filters for the apple iPhone and iPad can be found @ www.lowbluelights.com
Avoid late night TV, as this is often stimulating and not relaxing. Try quiet music or audio books instead.
Try out these tips and see how they can improve the quality of your sleep and energy!
One on One Physical Therapy / Karen Warren