When you go to bed at night, are you entirely spoiling your sleep? Making one tiny change could be all it takes to have a better night’s sleep. According to new research, your sleeping environment may have a fundamental flaw that prevents you from receiving a wholly comfortable and productive night’s sleep.
Here’s what you should do first before climbing into bed.
Seriously, keep light out of your bedroom!
You’re damaging your sleep if you sleep with your shades open or, even worse, if you sleep with the TV on all night. The best method to sleep is in complete darkness with no distractions. If you aren’t filtering out light, you could be jeopardizing your health (and how restful your slumber is).
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, allowing light into your bedroom can significantly negatively impact your sleep. Northwestern University researchers investigated the impact of increasing light exposure levels while sleeping. During one night of sleep, subjects were exposed to either 100 lux (moderate light) or 3 lux (dim light). Their findings revealed that moderate light exposure has a direct effect on how you sleep as well as how your body works.
The people exposed to moderate light while sleeping had more attentive bodies. Their heart rate increased, as did the force with which the heart contracted and the speed with which blood was transported into blood arteries and kept flowing. The presence of soft light during sleep stimulates the autonomous nervous system. Typically, your heart rate and other cardiovascular activity are reduced while you sleep. However, sleeping in a somewhat illuminated room causes the body to believe it is daytime, causing it to modify its regular routines.
One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Daniela Grimaldi, told Science Daily that the subjects’ brains displayed unique activity when sleeping. Even when the issues were soundly sleeping, their brains acted as if they were in a light, fragmented state. As a result, people exposed to sunlight while sleeping weren’t getting the full benefits of a restful night’s sleep.
But the negative impacts on one’s health didn’t stop there. Researchers also discovered that after sleeping in a room with light exposure, the individuals’ insulin resistance rose the following day. Insulin resistance implies your body can’t use blood glucose for energy, so it produces more insulin. The long-term effects of this process may increase your risk of developing health problems such as diabetes.
And the individuals in the study had no awareness that all of these cellular changes were going place as they slept.
The amount of light you are exposed to when sleeping can have an incredible impact on your health.
You may believe you’re sleeping in complete darkness. Yet, light can enter your room in various subtle, seemingly minor ways. If you have equipment in your bedroom that emits light throughout the night, such as a glowing clock, a nightlight, or your television, or if you can see the light from your bedroom window, that illuminating glow could be damaging your health. Something as simple as a nearby street light shining through your blinds can affect you.
The study researchers found that just one night of modest light exposure while in bed can have a very substantial effect. Sleeping with light for just one night can disrupt your natural glucose utilization and production and your cardiovascular regulation. You could put yourself at risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome if you frequently expose yourself to light during sleep (which is linked to obesity).
Close your curtains tightly, put on an eye mask, and turn off your light-emitting devices to ensure a restful, refreshing night’s sleep.
How can you determine if you’re sleeping with too much light in your room? If you can see clearly in the “dark,” you should probably lower the brightness. The darker your room is, the better your sleep environment will be – and the more vital work your body will be able to accomplish.
In conclusion, It is essential to be mindful of how much light is in our room while we sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, consider eliminating any glare from your room altogether. You may be surprised at how much your sleep improves.