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How Sunlight And Darkness Affects Sleep

Posted Jul 13 2010 4:33am

During darkness increased is produced in the pineal gland and in the retinas of your eyes. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which induces sleep and causes the body temperature to fall. When Sunlight enters the eyes it reduces the production of melatonin and the production of increases. Our body temperature increases thus making you feel more awake.

A lack of serotonin can be associated with people who suffer from anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Seratone 5-HTP is a natural mood enhancer which helps maintain the levels of serotonin. Both and are available, but before taking any new medication I advise seeking medical advice.

Lack of sunlight during winter periods can adversely affect your sleep, mood and energy levels. People, who suffer from depression and sleep problems during winter months, are often diagnosed with SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Sunlight helps regulate a good sleep rhythm. However during winter months when sunlight is reduced, an artificial light box can be used as a substitution. It’s important to expose yourself to light as soon as you wake and throughout the day, this will improve your mood, energy and alertness.

It is best to be in bed by 10 pm and to wake up early in the morning. This way you can maximize your exposure to sunlight in the day. It is recommended to dim lighting an hour or so before you sleep to increase your melatonin levels, to help prepare your body for sleep.

It is also important to make your room as dark as possible when you sleep, by turning out all lights and ensuring that you have no outside light entering into your room. A set of thick lined curtains will do. However, if you already have curtains then you can line the inside to make them less permeable to light. A cheaper option would be to wear an eye mask, but make sure it’s comfortable to wear and that it’s kept clean.

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