Does light affect sleep and energy? Can light bulbs change your life? Absolutely!
Here’s 6 easy steps to change your health by day and by night.
On Planet Earth, the sky is blue. We respond to daylight with hormones and neurotransmitters that wake us up. When we see darkness – even with moon light – our hormones tell us to slow down and sleep.
Other creatures have opposite signals. Skunks and possums wake at dusk and sleep in the day. Does light affect sleep? Yep! Both daylight and night light (darkness) affect us profoundly.
Darkness: The Signal to Sleep
Are you fatigued? Not getting quality sleep? Here’s one reason why…
We only make the sleep hormone Melatonin in response to darkness. Melatonin is the opposite of adrenal Cortisol which we make in response to daylight. This graph shows Cortisol highest in the morning and declining steadily ’til bedtime. The Melatonin graph is the exact opposite!
We make Melatonin as we sense night is falling – it shuts down Cortisol in preparation for sleep.
But if your house is full of light from TV, computer and lamps you will not make Melatonin. Without Melatonin, you won’t fall asleep easily. Or stay asleep…
TIP: If your bedroom has any light, you’re more likely to toss and turn.
We aren’t affected by the yellow and red light of fire. We’ve evolved to accept that as a neutral or even positive. It’s blue (and perhaps green) light that wake our brains up.
We crave the dark and we need it! We only make melatonin in response to darkness.
How to have more Melatonin and better sleep:
1). Wear good Blue-Blocker glasses after dinner. They make fit-overs to use over your glasses. I like wrap-around styles as they shield my eye from light coming in the side of the frame. Find them here or here.
2). Put timers on your house lights. Turn ON lamps with yellow bulbs. Turn OFF other lights with normal blue or white bulbs or screens. Try low wattage “warm” bulbs and drape a yellow or red cloth over the lamp. You can find yellow bulbs as “bug lights” or “turtle lights”. I found good bulbs here, as well as amber light sleeves to put over the plug-in fluorescents on my reading lamp. I slept better the first night I did that, even with my Blue Blockers!
3). Add blue blocking to your computer screen with the free download from F.Lux.
4). Remove ALL light from the bedroom and add blackout curtains. Use a clock with a dark face and never turn on lights at night. Get an amber/yellow night light or flashlight from Low Blue Lights instead. They have amber bulbs and glasses too.
5). Use candles (fake ones are fine), firelight or a Himalayan Salt Lamp. I love mine! (Makes a nice gift too)….
6). Get outside and relish dark skies if you’re lucky enough to live outside the city.
Break the cycle of Insomnia and Chronic Fatigue
Better sleep means better energy. Boosting yourself with “energy” from caffeine or sugar is not the answer. Sleep is the answer! I have many articles and podcasts on herbs for sleep and boosting the GABA neurotransmitter to help insomnia and anxiety. Check this one, this one and this one and use the Search feature on my website for many more. Make some Melatonin at the same time you take these GABA supportive herbs and you might change your life!
Is Melatonin Good For Me?
You might be tempted to buy Melatonin at the drug store. Why make it if you can buy it?
Melatonin is a neurohormone and an antioxidant. It is allowed to enter the brain (unlike most substances). Our natural Melatonin is safe and very beneficial. You can’t always say that about the synthetic stuff and its additives and carriers. Since we make and use only tiny amounts, avoid doses larger than .5 mcg. if you take it…
I sell Systemic Formulas DREM sleep support product in my online store. It has 5 mg. Melatonin and numerous herbs and aminos to coordinate the use and timing of Melatonin. It may work for you if yellow lights do not.
Blue Light Deprivation
Bright white and blue lights from the sun, fluorescents, LED’s, computers and other screens provoke human brain activity into the “doing” mode. We respond to daylight with alpha and beta brainwaves and the production of cortisol and thyroid. We should be up and ready to hunt and gather for the day.
BUT! We get depressed in the winter when days are short or anytime we don’t get enough daylight.
TIP: Most modern humans are clinically light deprived…
It’s not enough to sit at a bright window, although that helps. We need to see the full spectrum of light produced by the sun, and windows block certain frequencies of light. Morning light is particularly important. Get outside in daylight as much as you can. You can also lower the window of your car a few inches while driving. This lets natural light in to the eyeball and signals the brain to power up. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing!
I use a Sun Lamp like this one in the winter if I’m not spending enough time outside with my animals.
Does Light Affect Sleep?
Restore your natural sleep/wake cycle and your body will thank you. More darkness at night. More light in the day. Your internal clocks will reset to help give you energy in the day and better sleep at night. Yes, light can change your life!