Sounds obvious that you should sleep in the dark, right?
But if you really take a good look at your bedroom at night, you’ll probably discover many sources of ambient light that you don’t give a second thought. Things like the light emitted from your digital alarm clock. The blinking notification light on your cell phone or your charger. The power light on your TV…wait, you don’t still have a TV in your bedroom do you?
So what’s the big deal? Many studies show that ambient lighting from our plethora of electronics can suppress melatonin production, which not only causes sleep depravation, but has been linked to the development of several chronic diseases. Chronic lack of sleep can raise cortisol levels, leading to weight gain and other complications.
To minimize ambient light keep portable electronics out of your bedroom, or at the very least, cover them up or flip them face down so that the light is blocked. Turn your alarm clock around so that its face isn’t casting light in your direction. Try to limit the use of e-readers, phones, and tablets to at least an hour before bedtime.
There is a great app called f.lux that I’ve been using for quite a while. It filters out the most disruptive blue wavelengths of light from your screens after sunset based on your location. You can download it here.
You can also go as far as blue light blocking glasses, sleep masks, room darkening shades, etc. But to start, simply minimizing the ambient light in your bedroom can go a long way toward a better night’s sleep.
Here’s to getting your circadian rhythms back in rhythm!