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How to use light to improve your sleep

Do you have trouble getting to sleep at night? Do you struggle to get up for work? Are you trying to recover from a nasty bout of jetlag? Using light more effectively might by the answer!

Our circadian rhythm is what tells our bodies when it’s time to go to sleep and when we should wake up. Often, in a fast paced world, they can get out of whack. Artificial light, working inside, black out curtains, and international travel can all disrupt our bodies natural sleep pattern. So how can you use light to improve your sleep habits?

Get outside in the morning

It’s is important to expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, as the natural light will tell your brain that it is time to start the day. This will help your natural melatonin levels decrease. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is in charge of the body’s sleep cycle. It will increase a few hours before going to bed to help you sleep, and will decrease during the day.

Avoid light in the evening

When you are getting close to bed, it is important to avoid as much light as possible to signal to your brain that it is night time. If you need light for reading or a similar activity, try using a warm, dim lamp. To get the best sleep possible, avoid blue light, like that from your phone, television, or computer, as much as possible.

Wake up with the sun

The sun is the best alarm clock you can use to wake up naturally and with ease. Sleeping with your curtains open will allow your body to fall into rhythm with the sun, and will mean you are waking up more naturally and more refreshed. You may think that using blackout curtains give you a better sleep, but for most people they will cause drowsiness in the morning, as the brain will not know the difference between night and day.

If you are still struggling to sleep after making habitual changes, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

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