Are You Falling Asleep with Your Lights on?
Did you know that having a bright night light or bedroom lamp can actually prevent you from getting your best night sleep?
Whether you're watching TV with the volume level low enough to help you drift off or your children insist on having a light in their bedroom to fight off scary nightmares, any vibrant light source can do more harm than good for your overall sleep health. You may think that dimmed lights can have a calming effect, but the opposite is true.
Human beings are simply designed to sleep in darkness. Of course, you'll probably have no problem falling asleep with the lights on, but you'll want to stop that habit to sleep well and here's why.
Based on what we know about sleep science, when the sun comes up the light receptors in the retina of our eyes tell us it's time to wake up by stopping the release of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone, which tells our body we are tired and need rest.
The opposite happens at night if you are exposed to any light in your bedroom. This light will not only interfere with the natural melatonin hormone cycle; it will also put you on a fast track to sleep deprivation.
Tips to Get Better Sleep
Then, what can you do to avoid pesky lighting causing you to lose sleep at home?
These few changes to your environment can help you and your loved ones get on track with better sleeping habits.
The Darker, the Better
A dark bedroom makes for a solid night's sleep. If there are any lights shining into your bedroom from a window or any bright streetlights they need to be addressed. For starters, use light-blocking curtains, shades or blinds to help ensure you keep your sleep space dark.
Also, look around your bedroom for unexpected light sources such as sound machines, alarm clocks, and computer monitors. These are all things that can keep you from sleeping well at night.
Trick Your Brain
As important as it may be to maintain a dark sleep environment, failure to get enough light exposure throughout the day can negatively impact your sleep. It's not uncommon to have mornings where you wake up after nine hours of restful sleep to still feel exhausted and tired. This is likely due to underexposure to natural light throughout the day.
To break this cycle, try to spend ten minutes a day outside or at least step outside in the sun before starting to unwind for bedtime. It will help your brain delay that “tired" feeling and get you back into a healthy sleep rhythm.
Cut Out All Lights
Make no mistake, falling back asleep can be just as difficult as drifting off to sleep in the first place. Whether you have to go to the bathroom or grab a glass of water, it is extremely important to avoid as much light as possible in the process.
Navigating through a dark bedroom is no easy feat, especially if there are little toys or furniture obstacles in your way. Consider night lights that are “sleeper friendly" in warm colors to help you find your way around in the dark while not disrupting your sleep needs.
When we think about popular sleep aids, we often think about white noise machines or aromatherapy. Really, there is no better remedy than a quality mattress and a cool, dark bedroom to sleep in.
Mattress Firm reviews these things so you don't have to. So, turn off your favorite netflix series just a few minutes before bedtime and unplug your lamp for total peace of mind that will help you sleep throughout the night and feel your best the following day.