The importance of light for a good night's sleep

Postdate: 17 September 2018

You may not expect it, but light plays an important role in regulating sleep. By immediately opening the curtains and let the first rays of sunlight inside when you wake up, helps you to reset your biological clock. Sitting behind the computer till late makes it harder for you to fall asleep. In short, dealing wisely with the use of light is beneficial for your sleep.

How does it work?
Nerve cells in the eyes transmit information about light to the brain, triggering all kinds of mechanisms. When it starts to get light in the morning, the biological clock receives a signal. The body knows that the day will start, and makes extra cortisol that makes you more alert and active.

Getting up with light also causes you to become sleepy in the evening, because the biological clock is adjusted. In the evening hours the amount of ambient light decreases and slowly more melatonin is released into the body. The time of release is also determined by the biological clock. Melatonin makes you feel sleepier.

Also read: Stimulate your concentration with light

Use daylight to your advantage
Research of chronobiology scientists shows that exposure to sunlight provides deeper and a more uninterrupted sleep. According to Dr. Emma J. Wams, the effect of sunlight is the same throughout the year, regardless of the season. This calls for a short walk during lunch. Especially when the days are getting shorter and you get relatively little daylight. Even on a cloudy day, the light intensity outside is 1000 lux. This is the value for determining the amount of light. That is five times more light than in a cafeteria, where there is usually only 200 lux.

The older you get, the more daylight you need
From the age of 50 you need more light, because the eyes slowly deteriorate over the years. The eyes of a 70-year-old take in less light compared to the eyes of a 20-year-old. As a result, the biological clock is less well activated. This can lead to a disruption of the day and night rhythm.

The advice is to go outside every day, even on a bleak and drizzly day. It is also important to light your home well. Choose window coverings that let in enough light, place the chair where you often read in near a window and put lamps that illuminate the entire room.

Blue light is disastrous for sleep
We spend on average 7 hours and 23 minutes a day on media, such as internet banking, gaming and following news websites. More than half of the adults are still looking at a display the last hour before bedtime. The displays of modern equipment, such as mobile phones, computers and tablets, emit a relatively large amount of blue light. This inhibits the release of melatonin and makes sleeping more difficult. The use of light rich in red wavelengths is best for evening hours, such as candlelight.

Sleep is a complex phenomenon. There are countless scientific researches to shed more light on the mystery of sleep. Light is one of the factors that affect sleep. Timing and exercise also play an important role in the quality of sleep. Want to know more about sleep and improve your sleep quality? Check out the other blogs and vlogs on this topic.

biological clock     effects     light     melatonine     sleep     sleep quality    

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