Sleeping well is hardly a problem for many people, although most of us have had some sleepless nights when we toss and turn as well. But if it has already become a nightly issue – when you are actually dreading your time to sleep because you are afraid that you will just end up awake and staring at the ceiling at 3 am –then it may be time to do something about it. You have probably heard of the body’s circadian rhythm, which is its natural sleep cycle, and you may also have heard of some tips such as getting a regular sleep pattern, waking up at the same time both on the weekdays and the weekends, and so on. But did you know that light can affect your sleep as well? So, what should you know about light and light exposure which can help you sleep better? Let’s find out.
Light exposure and a good night’s rest
Light can have a major impact on how well you can sleep at night. But we’re not just talking about the available light in your bedroom when it’s time to sleep – we are also referring to the amount of light you are exposed to, even during the day. Here are some of the best tips to help you make use of light for a good night’s rest:
- Get exposed to the rays of the sun every morning. When you wake up, go outside and soak in the sun’s rays – even a few minutes of sunlight can do wonders for the way you feel. If it’s possible, have your coffee outdoors or have breakfast by the window. The light will not only feel good, but it will also help you ‘wake up’ and stay alert during the day.
- During the day, try to get as much sunlight as possible. When you take a break from working, spend the time walking outside. You can also do some exercises outside or try walking your dog or running errands during the day rather than at night.
- Natural light during the day is your best friend if you would like to get a good sleep. Open your windows or drapes, and if you are working at home, keep your worktable or desk as close to the window as possible.
- You can also make use of artificial light such as a light box, which is a kind of therapy box that can simulate the rays of the sun and is particularly useful during the winter.
- At night, try to avoid bright TV screens or the screen of your smartphone or tablet, especially within one to two hours of your normal bedtime. If you have to check your smartphone, tablet, or computer at this time, use a device with a smaller screen and adjust the brightness.
- The light from your television can affect your body’s production of melatonin, so try to limit your late-night TV viewing as well. Also, if you watch TV programmes late at night, you can end up stimulating your brain rather than letting it rest. Listen to music or an audio book instead.
- Wear the right clothing for sleep. Clothing can affect our sleep as well, particularly if it is uncomfortable or restrictive. The best sleepwear is a silk PJ set; silk is a very comfortable fabric if you want to get a good night’s rest, and it also feels very luxurious.
- Lastly, when it’s time for you to go to sleep, turn off all the lights in your bedroom. Draw the drapes or use heavy shades so you can block the light coming in from the windows; alternatively, use a sleep mask.