Go Toward The Light! At The Right Times.

Do you know the impact light exposure has on your ability to sleep?

Our bodies create melatonin naturally, but the way you interact with light throughout the day and night will change the balance of chemicals in your body, potentially robbing you of the ability to sleep easily on your own.

Thankfully, this is an easy thing to change! Here are a few tips to control your light intake, both day and night, to get healthier, better sleep.

Control your exposure to light

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm.

Use these tips to keep your sleep-wake cycle on track.

During the day:

Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. The closer to the time you get up, the better. Have your coffee outside, for example, or eat breakfast by a sunny window. The light on your face will help you wake up.

Spend more time outside during daylight. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.

Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.

If necessary, use a light therapy box. This simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days.

At night:

Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down, or using light-altering software such as f.lux.

Say no to late-night television. Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead.

Don’t read with backlit devices. Tablets that are backlit are more disruptive than e-readers that don’t have their own light source.

When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light.

Keep the lights down if you get up during the night. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.
– via www.helpguide.org

Quick Fixes For Bad Sleep

Sleep is how our bodies restore and recharge. So when your sleep is compromised – either quantity or quality – it means you’ll have a harder time handling stress, staying alert and focused, and getting through whatever your day throws at you.

The better your sleep, the better your days. If you’re trying to handle stress and stay healthy, then take a few of these tips into consideration and start getting the rest your body truly deserves.

Set an alarm to go to bed.

If you find yourself consistently wishing you had hit the hay earlier but staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible for you, consider setting yourself an alarm — to go to bed.

Resist the urge to snooze.

Sleep caught between soundings of that alarm is just not high-quality sleep. The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us feel groggier than when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for a slightly later time and skipping a snooze cycle or two could bring big benefits.

Slip on some socks.

Some people have the unlucky lot in life of colder-than-comfortable extremities. But having warm hands and feet seems to predict how quickly you’ll fall asleep, according to a 1999 study. Speed up the process by pulling on a pair of clean socks before climbing into bed.

Keep your bedroom dark.

Even the most inconspicuous glow — like that from a digital alarm clock — can disrupt your shut-eye. If you can’t seal up all the light sources in your room, consider using a comfy eye-mask.

Keep it cool.

Temperature in the bedroom is a little bit of a Goldilocks situation: A room that’s too hot and a room that’s too cold can both mess with your sleep. Aim for somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, Dr. Christopher Winter, M.D., wrote in a HuffPost blog.

Power down an hour before bed.

Dim the lights and turn off all your devices — smartphones, laptops, TVs, all of which belong outside the bedroom — about 60 minutes before bedtime. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brains that it’s time to be awake and alert, so start sending the opposite signal early.

Exercise regularly.

In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep In America survey, regular, vigorous exercisers reported getting the best sleep. The best news is that it doesn’t take much: Adding even just a few minutes of physical activity to your day can make a difference in your rest.

Just try not to do it too close to bedtime.

Most of us don’t exercise intensely enough to really rev ourselves up so much that we override the sleep-promoting benefits of regular workouts. However, especially in people with trouble sleeping, making sure your sweat sessions end at least a couple of hours before bedtime is generally a good idea.

Avoid heavy meals when it’s late.

Your body isn’t meant to be digesting while you sleep, so a big meal too close to bedtime may keep you up at night. Protein is especially hard to digest, so if you have to eat late, opt for lighter fare.

Paint your bedroom a tranquil color.

Maybe it’s a relaxing blue or a warm yellow — the exact shade doesn’t matter so much as long as it calms you. But do go for a matte finish rather than a high-gloss one, Michael Breus, Ph.D., told HuffPost in 2012.

Keep your bedroom quiet.

Noises like whirring electronics or ticking watches can easily be left outside the bedroom. For snoring bed partners or blaring sirens outside your window that are slightly more difficult to avoid, try a handy pair of earplugs.

But not too quiet.

When your sleep haven is so silent you could hear a pin drop, every occasional bump in the night becomes that much more evident and disruptive. You might want to consider a white noise machine if your bedroom verges on the too-quiet side of the spectrum.

Make sure your mattress fits.

Believe it or not, lots of tossing and turning may be less about you and more about what you’re lying on. That’s right: An uncomfortable mattress might the source of your sleepless nights. Whether that’s because it’s lost its cushioning or because it’s simply too small, it’s important to recognize the signs that it’s time to buy a new one. Expect to make a swap every five to 10 years, according to Consumer Reports.

Nap — wisely.

When done right, a little daytime snooze won’t destroy your nighttime slumber, and can boost memory, alertness and job performance while you’re at it. Just make sure you limit your nap to 30 minutes, max, and don’t snooze too close to bedtime.
– via The Huffington Post

How have you been sleeping recently?