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In today’s world, the modern bedroom is full of lights due to glowing computer monitors, clock radios, and the screen light of our mobile devices. It may seem like a normal aspect of our modern lifestyles which are strongly connected to technology. However, the problem is that chronic exposure to artificial light before bedtime is severely decreasing sleep quality. Early studies of the human internal clock had suggested that humans are as sensitive to light as any other organism. A recent study has proved that the quality and architecture of sleep is associated with preceding artificial light exposure from today’s technologies. Since light is one of the most external factors that increase the number of awakenings and limit the depth of our sleep, the many reasons below will explore why lights need to be taken out of the equation to transform our bedrooms into sleep sanctuaries.
Why is light a modern sleep problem
Together with the invention of electricity and the advancement of technology, light has become a modern sleep problem. Back in history, humans did not have to seek out darkness to get proper sleep. However, the development of technology has fundamentally changed our relationship to darkness and light, creating new challenges to sleep quality. Electronics are becoming integrated parts of the modern family’s bedroom. There is no more surprise in the fact that individuals spend several hours before going to bed on their laptops or smartphones without realizing its negative effects. A research team from the University of Oxford has found that sleep is affected differently by various colors of light. As a result of the study, scientists have concluded that green light promotes sleep, while blue light delays it. The electronic devices people use nowadays emit blue light which disrupts people’s natural circadian rhythm.
The way darkness influences sleep
No matter if we had proper sleep or not, when the sleeping environment transitions from darkness to light, our brains tend to wake. Humans are diurnal organisms which means that we have evolved to sleep at night. When the body recognizes the contrast with darkness, melatonin production starts. The hormone produced in the brain’s pineal gland called melatonin is often known as the “darkness hormone”. Since the production of melatonin is strongly linked to darkness, protecting the bedroom environment from light is significantly important for good night sleep.
Decreasing light exposure to improve the quality of sleep
Maintaining the contrast between the bright daytime and the dark night is crucial for telling the brain when it is time to rest. The first step to managing light exposure is to secure the bedroom environment with window treatments such as custom cellular shades that will protect the indoor from the sunlight. The thermal insulation value will also shield the room from the outdoor temperatures maintaining the ideal room temperature. Moreover, the results were clear in proving that exposure to blue artificial light negatively influences the sleep quality. This means that the limitation of exposure to blue light from devices for at least 60 minutes before bedtime is vital for getting a proper night sleep. An eye mask worn at night can also be a useful tool that can help deepen darkness and protect against intrusive light that can interfere with the internal clock.