One of the secrets to getting good night’s sleep is a pitch black bedroom.
How does darkness effect sleep?
Darkness is the primary cue that tells our body that it is time to sleep. A decrease in light triggers changes in our internal chemicals that produce hormones that induce sleep such as melatonin.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “As evening approaches and the light in our environment dwindles, the hormone melatonin begins to rise and body temperature falls—both of which help us to become less alert and more likely to welcome sleep. With the help of morning light, melatonin levels are lower, body temperature begins to rise, and other chemical shifts occur such as an uptick in the activating hormone cortisol, to help us feel alert and ready for the day.”
Does artificial light count?
The rising and setting of the sun isn’t the only light that our internal clocks pick up on. The thinking part of our brain that differentiates fake light from natural light can’t pass on the information to the part of the brain that controls sleep.
How to achieve total darkness in the bedroom and a good night’s sleep.
Imagine your bedroom as your sanctuary, it should be relaxing and peaceful. Here are some great tips to help you welcome a more restful night’s sleep.
1. Dim the lights before bedtime
Use low wattage warm light bulbs in lamps in the bedroom, turning off overhead lights as you get ready for bed. The aim is to reduce the amount of light that you are exposed to signalling to your body that darkness is setting in and it is time to sleep.
2. Eliminate Electronics
Scientists have found that light from electronics disrupts sleep sending alerting signals to the brain. In particular the blue light given off by computers, cell phones and energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs. Humans evolved to only see bright light during the day, seeing this light in the evening makes your brain more alert as it thinks that it’s daytime.