Posts Tagged ‘Light’

How Light Can Affect Your Sleep

September 19, 2011
If you have difficulty sleeping at night, it may have something to do with the quality and amount of light around you prior to bed time.

The human body is highly sensitive to light and in the past, our daily activities were guided by the cycles of day and night, and the seasons. These cycles helped us decide on the best times for waking and sleeping, hunting, fishing, planting and harvesting.

Nowadays, we have electric lighting which allows us to continue our activities long after sunset. However, the downside of artificial lighting and the increased use of electronic devices with bright screens, such as televisions, computers and smart phones, means that we are subjected to light for much longer.  These light sources often affect our ability to fall asleep.  And if we don’t get enough sleep, our mental function, mood, productivity and long-term health can all suffer.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, you may find the following tips on the use of light before bedtime will help:

1.   No bright lights after sunset – avoid the use of overhead lights and instead, use lamps at table height to simulate the firelight our ancestors would have been exposed to after dark.  Overhead lights simulate sunlight and prevent your body preparing for rest.

2.   Use low-watt bulbs – for the last one to two hours before bedtime, use bulbs with a lower light output below 100-watt.

3.   No blue light – blue light simulates daylight so instead, choose bulbs that give off a more yellow light. This can also be helped with lamp shades in gold or red tones to help simulate natural evening light.

4.   Reduce use of electronic devices before bedtime – research shows that using televisions, computers or mobile phones before bed can inhibit sleep. Their use should be limited in the hour or two before bedtime. If you need to use the computer at night, you can download a free software programme which changes the brightness of your computer screen to simulate the natural light cycle in your time zone – available from

5.   Block out window light – any light that comes into your room from street lamps or flood lights can interfere with the production of a hormone called melatonin, your sleep hormone.  If this is a problem, purchase a black-out blind or curtains.

For information on a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes more tips on sleeping, download a free E-Book at