Sleep and Lights
How many times have you fallen asleep with the lights, or television on, or even stayed up late to use your computer right before going to bed?
A key factor in regulating sleep and your biological clocks is exposure to light or to darkness so falling asleep with lights on may not be the best thing for a good night’s sleep .
Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake.
Too much light, right before bedtime may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, one study recently found that exposure to unnatural light cycles may have real consequences for our health including increased risk for depression.
Suggestion at night, keep your sleep environment dark. Light-blocking curtains, drapes or an eye mask can also help, and if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.
If you are a shift worker, who need’s to get their zzz’s during the day. Wearing dark glasses to block out the sunlight on the way home from work is another way to limit light before bedtime. Some research indicates that the body may never fully adapt to shift work, especially for those who switch to a normal weekend sleep schedule.
Before bedtime, limit television viewing and computer use, especially in the bedroom, as they hinder quality sleep.
Setting good sleep habits is particularly important for infants and children , as it directly impacts mental and physical development. Circadian rhythms develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months, most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle.
Think about it: If you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep.
It’s a vicious cycle, and eventually this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.
It starts out innocently enough. “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.
Unwanted pounds as poor food choices coupled with lack of exercise set the stage for obesity and further sleep loss. Have you heard about the sleep diet, which suggests you can lose weight while you catch your ZZZs.
And it’s true, sort of.
“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of “Beauty Sleep” and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
Watch the video to see what sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus says about light and sleep aids on the Dr. Oz show!
“Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. [Pure Rest] is a high quality supplement. It is a great alternative. It’s non-addictive.* It’s all of the things we look for, especially as a first step.” -Dr. Breus
Wishing you Health and Happiness,