When I was a kid, I didn’t have any friends that struggled with insomnia. We played outside all day and shared one television for the whole family. Today, kids and adults alike don’t “play” outside so much anymore and everyone has their own personal electronic devices day in and out. This may be contributing to chronic sleeplessness that runs ramped these days – young and old alike.
Today I hear about so many kids, teens and young and older adults struggle with some form of insomnia, weather it’s having trouble falling asleep, waking up in the wee hours of the morning – 4am (sound familiar) and not being able to get back to sleep or waking up frequently in the night.
Good sleep is vital to your health. It should come naturally. It should be automatic. If you aren’t getting a good 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night, then it’s time you pay attention and be purposeful about learning how to sleep well.
I think most people can get a good night sleep if they only would practice good sleep hygiene. The rhythm of light seems to play a vital role in sleep. Here what I think could be keeping you awake at night:
Too Much Artificial Light
Light into all hours of the night is a fairly new invention when you look at the scope of history. And now we not only have the TV going, but also computers and devices that shine into our eyes late into the night. This constant light interferes with our ability to sleep. All light can promote wakefulness, but blue light in tech gadgets has the most disruptive effect on melatonin – the sleep hormone.
Energy saving fluorescent light that we use these days emits more blue light than regular bulbs, and they also contribute to sleeplessness.
Lack of Sunlight
The lack of sunlight exposure – especially in the morning – contributes to poor sleep. Exposure to sunlight during the morning can actually help you sleep better at night. The light helps to regulate you circadian rhythm.
The light later in the day does not have the same benefit. I’m talking about early morning light from 6-8:30am for at least a half an hour produces the best benefit. Getting up around the same time every morning sets your sleep cycle also.
There are light boxes that you can buy to get this effect, but I recommend good ‘ol, God-given sunlight to reset your biological clock.
What You Need To Succeed
- Put your gadgets away 2 hours before you want to go to bed. Shut them off if you have a tendency to look at your device every time there’s a notification. This keeps your brain busy an on alert when you should be winding down.
- Block some of the blue light with “f.lux” software, which gradually reduces the screen’s blue light in the evening.
- Turn off the CFL lights in your home in the evening and use lamps with regular bulbs to lightly illuminate the home with low lights two hours before you want to go to bed.
- Open up all your blinds first thing in the morning. Get outside if you can and drink your coffee on the patio or your front porch or better yet, go for a morning walk.
Now let me be clear, there are other reasons why people don’t sleep well: Poor Sleep Hygiene, Diet, Anxiety, Depression, Blood Sugar Drops, Hormone Imbalance, Stress, to name a few. And I intend on addressing all of these in my upcoming eBook that I’m currently writing, and explain how I personally overcame chronic insomnia.
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Be blessed in Whole Health!
Lighting Resource Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY
The Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona
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