Dim Your Lights for a Better Night’s Sleep

Bright lights can suppress melatonin which can interrupt sleep cycles and contribute to sleeplessness, Type 2 diabetes, and increased blood pressure.  These findings were released last week through researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study sequestered 116 people between the ages of 18 and 30 for five days and the researchers regularly checked melatonin levels throughout.  The findings are significant. According to Joshua Gooley, Ph.D., “Our study shows that this exposure to indoor light has a strong suppressive effect on the hormone melatonin. This could, in turn, have effects on sleep quality and the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure, and glucose levels.” The study goes on to say that dimmed lights will significantly decrease the adverse effect.  Exposure to room light during the evening hours suppressed melatonin by more than 50 percent over using dim light. There has been a lot of buzz lately about the importance of sleep.  Many of us (especially us social media types) have electronic screens and lights on late.  This can be really disruptive to our sleep cycles setting up a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation, not being focused, and needing to get more work done. So the take away here is to turn off your screens at least an hour before bed (the researchers suggested 90 minutes) and keep the lights dim during the same time period.   What they’re really saying is unplug, unwind, and rest.  Sounds like good advice, doesn’t it? What do you think about shutting off your electronics at least an hour before bed?  Have you tried it and been successful?  Have you found budgeting your time and schedule to include bedtime has made you more efficient? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks, Lisa