The artificial blue light emitted by TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops (the list goes on…) suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and therefore causes sleep disruptions. This stimulation increases alertness at a time when we should be aiming for the opposite. Our internal body clocks are adversely affected; receiving signals to extend our sleep-wake cycle.
At a minimum, exposure to all blue light should be removed at least 1 hour before bed. Additionally, consider scheduling devices to engage “night mode” and wearing blue light glasses in the evening.
Get some sun in the morning
Light exposure is the most dominant environmental time cue that influences our circadian rhythm. Clocking some sunshine in the early morning – ideally between 8-10am – not only resets our rhythm but has an abundance of other benefits. Vitamin D makes us happier, boosts metabolism and immune function, promotes healthy bones, improves how the body absorbs nutrients and regulates hormones. All in addition to helping us sleep better at the day’s end.
Absorbing direct sunlight within the first hour of waking increases the body’s production of serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate both moods and sleep and is a precursor to melatonin. Early light exposure ramps up serotonin production which after 12 hours then converts to melatonin, helping us sleep at night.
Caffeine affects each of us differently, with some being more sensitive to its effects than others. As a stimulant, caffeine promotes alertness and blocks the receptors that make us tired. It can be beneficial in the morning; however, it can alter our ability to sleep when ingested after 2pm.