Archive for June 2014

Light in our bedrooms resulting in poor sleep

It has been long established that light in the bedrooms disturbs sleep. Along with lack of sleep and excessive caffeine intake, brightly lit bedrooms may contribute to poor health.
Sleepless night
Recent study explores how our bedrooms have become so light intense and how this may link to obesity. I am not convinced about the light in the bedroom and obesity connection as obesity is a complex problem with multiple underlying and often personal reasons. Therefore, lit-up bedroom might just be associated with obesity due to poor sleep which might have entirely different causes. However, light does interfere with melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep and requires darkness, so those that have difficulty falling asleep, or going back to sleep after waking up, will benefit from a dark room and, if required, a very low level light pointed away from the eyes to move around in darkness.

It has also been established that the light shining from various electronic devices disturbs melatonin but it is again likely even more disturbing to have the electromagnetic fields, generated by mobiles and wifi, interfering with restful sleep and as with most things, we are all individuals and some of us are more sensitive to this type of interference than others.

To improve sleep, ensure you follow basic sleep hygiene rules and never go to bed hungry. If you feel even little hungry at bedtime, have a small protein based snack, such as natural yoghurt with berries or ½ banana. Further considerations include:
- avoid electronic stimulus for one hour prior to sleep, – including TV, computer, iPad
- remove all electronics, including phones from the bedroom, – and in most cases there is no real need for them to stay on at night either.
- ensure bedroom is completely dark and not too hot
- relax prior to bedtime, – Epson salt bath (max 20 min) and meditation are good options to try

See also my previous post on Sleep – are you getting enough? for what lack of sleep might mean to you.