Why You Should Black Out Your Room to Improve Your Sleep
Blacking Out Your Room: How and Why
The earth has its own clock and being the inhabitants of this planet, our bodies like to sync up with the earth’s clock. For this reason, evolution has taught us to sleep during the night and work during the day. When the sun goes down, your body starts preparing for snooze time. However, any source of light during the sleeping hours of the night can affect your sleep-inducing hormone, called melatonin.
How Does Our Body Prepare For Sleep?
As the late hours of the night approach, the brain triggers your body to produce melatonin and your body temperature drops slightly. Both these factors make us feel sleepy and your mind becomes less alert. As the sun rises, your melatonin levels drop and your body’s temperature restores to normal temperature. Your mind activating hormone, cortisol, also increases as you get ready for the day.
How Does Artificial Light Affect Our Sleep?
So, now that we understand how the sun affects the internal clock of your body, it’s only obvious that artificial light affects our sleep cycle as well. Your brain may understand the difference between sunlight and artificial light, but your body’s internal clock doesn’t get the message. Studies show that even dim lighting at night can drop melatonin levels, which means the person will not only have trouble falling asleep, but they will also have trouble staying asleep.
Being exposed to bright light before sleeping has a tremendous affect on your melatonin levels and your body doesn’t understand if it’s nighttime or daytime. Thus, disturbing your melatonin hormone can cause disturbed sleep, increase blood pressure and even cause poor blood circulation.
How to Black Out Your Room
The first step to blacking out your room is to properly identify all sources of artificial light. Simply turn off your bedroom light and see what’s stopping a complete blackout. The biggest culprits are electronics. It could be your digital alarm clock, a charging phone, and your cable modem. Cover these small sources of light with masking tape or remove them from your room altogether.
Another way to start preparing yourself for sleep is by dimming all lights in your house a couple of hours before bedtime. This will give your brain a cue to send signals for melatonin production and soon you will find yourself yawning.
Make sure you specifically avoid blue light before sleeping because it has a huge impact on your melatonin levels. The internal clock of your body takes a shift and your brain mistakes it for daytime. This also applies to fluorescent lights too. So, be sure to block out these bright lights to create a perfect sleeping environment.
The other most common source of light comes through windows. Thanks to street lights and cars, there is plenty of light shining through windows even during late hours. Invest in light blocking shades, curtains or blinds. A well-blacked out window will also let you sleep in the morning, especially when the days are long during summer. Or else, ditch all the above tips and get an eye mask if you are comfortable wearing it.