How’d You Sleep Last Night?
If you find yourself yawning throughout the day, you may not be getting enough sleep. Or enough high quality sleep. The problem? The amount of light you’re exposed to. Rather than resorting to caffeine or other stimulants to perk yourself up, or sleep aids to get more sleep, learn how to get better sleep, and therefore better health, naturally.
Drowsiness at Work
Many shift workers have problems sleeping because their work schedules conflict with their bodies’ natural sleep-wake cycle clues. Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, affects both our desire to sleep and the quality of our sleep. Darkness enhances melatonin production, while light inhibits it. Therefore, shift workers may experience drowsiness at work and suffer from insomnia when they try to sleep during daylight hours.
Because bright lights can disturb the normal production of melatonin, and interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep, make sure your bedroom is completely dark. Use light–blocking shades, lined curtains or even an eye mask to block out all light. Don’t over look night lights and bright clock radio lights! Even an area of light the size of a coin falling onto your skin can affect the production of melatonin.
The Elderly Suffer Too
One of the major health complaints for the over-65 population is difficulty sleeping. This may be due to the fact that many elderly people do not get outdoors much and therefore, lack an adequate amount of bright light exposure. Getting outside more, or increasing the level of light in their homes during the day and early evening hours may actually alleviate the major cause of their sleep distress!