You probably remember how our parents told us to turn out the lights at night before going to bed. Nightly darkness meant it was time to get some rest and go to sleep. Throughout evolution, our internal clock has become used to the regular bright and dark stages of day and night to control our sleep cycle.
Have you ever noticed that you feel gloomy when you stay indoors all day or wake up tired because you stayed up late in front of the TV. Our body regulates itself to the conditions we expose it to. All consequences, however minor, have more impact on your overall health and sleep quality than you might think. That’s why when the sun is shining, we tend to feel more energized, and when it’s dark, we tend to feel more tired.
Unfortunately, many people struggle with getting enough sleep due to various factors, including stress, poor nutrition, and inadequate exposure to blue light. Recent studies revealed that light and vitamin D are related to sleep efficiency, so we might not even realize how much light causes poor sleep quality.
SAMINA believes in healthy sleep, so let’s delve into the connection between light, vitamin D, and sleep.
The Link Between Light and Sleep
Both our physical and mental health depend on getting a good night’s sleep, and light exposure is a key factor in controlling our sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to natural light during the day can enhance sleep quality and encourage alertness. On the other hand, exposure to artificial light at night can disrupt our circadian rhythm making it difficult to sleep well.
Our exposure to light has a significant impact on our circadian rhythm — the 24-hour internal clock that coordinates several functions in our body, including sleep. The circadian rhythm helps our bodies produce serotonin, our active hormone, during the day. Likewise, it helps melatonin production, the drowsy sleep hormone, we produce at night.
The moment our eyes are exposed to light, we begin to wake up. When this happens in the morning, it’s a natural part of the sleep-wake cycle. However, if your eyes sense any light at night, your sleep cycle can be disrupted. A person’s sleep cycle usually lasts between 70 and 120 minutes and includes all stages of sleep: REM, deep sleep, and light sleep.
Your sleep quality can be determined by light and that’s why you should be exposed to light as nature intended—in the morning and not at night. When your sleep cycle is disrupted profoundly by the interference of light at the wrong times it may mean that your regenerative sleep stages are shortened, thus leading to various circadian disorders.
Should I Sleep in Complete Darkness?
The short answer is: Yes.
Generally, it’s easier to fall asleep in complete darkness. It’s easier to stay asleep, too. Before you can even fall asleep, you must feel tired. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy and needs to be made by your body. It’s called the “drowsy hormone” because of this. Research shows that melatonin is made most effectively in total darkness. Constant exposure to light, on the other hand, can stop melatonin from being made throwing off your circadian cycle and causing a number of sleep problems. The consequence: you might get some sleep but it’s probably not quality sleep and you won’t feel rested when you wake up.
How Does Blue Light Exposure Affect Sleep?
In today’s digital age, many of us spend a significant amount of time staring at digital devices, from our computers and smartphones to tablets, E-books, and televisions. It is exactly the blue light emitted by these electronic devices that has negative effects on our sleep quality.
The recent findings from the 2023 Sleep in America Poll, show an hour before bedtime. These statistics are worrying because we know looking at digital devices before sleep prevents has a direct affect on sleep health which, in turn, is strongly associated with our mental health.
Other research shows that blue light exposure can suppress melatonin levels, interfering with our circadian clock. Because melatonin is released by the pineal gland in our brains as a response to darkness, blue light tempers its production so you won’t feel sleepy at night. Moreover, most experts advise and avoiding electronics exposure before sleep.
At least technology is recognizing this significant effect on our health and many electronic devices now offer a “night mode” or “dark mode” setting that reduces the amount of blue light emitted. This makes the light from the device easier on the eyes and promotes better sleep. Keep in mind that getting enough restorative sleep is essential for your mental health!
The Science behind Vitamin D and Sleep
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health and supporting the immune system even cancer prevention. However, few people think about how vitamin D levels affect sleep.
Some studies link vitamin D deficiency to sleep problems like trouble falling asleep, an unbalanced circadian rhythm, excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as reports of waking up more during the night. Sunlight exposure during the day helps your body take in the vitamin D needed to regulate serotonin and control human circadian rhythms. In addition, vitamin D deficiency affects your melatonin levels and ultimately impacts your natural sleep-wake cycle.
Vitamin D Supplementation and Precautions
The best way to fight low vitamin D levels is to take a 15 to 30 minute sun break, ideally in the morning or early afternoon. Similarly, a natural approach to remedy any deficiencies is to eat foods high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, or take a vitamin D supplement. Although, if you’re thinking about taking supplements, it’s better to take a small dose of vitamins during the day and with food. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D varies depending on age, gender, and other factors, but the general guideline is 400–800 IU per day.
While taking vitamin D can be incredibly beneficial for your overall health, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can lead to negative side effects. Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin D supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.
Are You Missing Out On Healthy Sleep? Check Out These Tips!
As stated previously, we can’t stress enough the importance of a good night’s sleep for your body and mind!
Even though we’ve covered how you need to regulate your exposure to blue light and ensure the right vitamin D levels in your body, there are some additional things you can do to improve your sleeping experience. Always remember that good, restful sleep helps memory, reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, and ensures a significant improvement of your mental health.
By incorporating these practices into your daily lives, you can get enough sleep and reap many of its benefits!
- Maintain a consistent sleeping schedule. Even on weekends, go to bed and get up at the same time each day to regulate your circadian clock.
- Create your own space that promotes rest. Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and has the right temperature. To ensure the best comfort while sleeping, think about investing in some good-quality sleeping products.
- Relax before going to bed. To aid in your body and mind relaxing before bed, establish a bedtime routine, which can involve reading a book, doing breathing or meditation exercises, or taking a bath.
- Restrict your screen time before sleep. Once more, being exposed to the blue light that electronic devices emit can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Use a “night mode” setting to lessen the amount of blue light they emit, or even stop using them within an hour before bed.
- Avoid stimulants. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, especially in the evening. These substances can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep, making you more likely to wake up during the night.
Say Hello to Restful Nights!
Invest in a restful, stress-free night’s sleep with the SAMINA Sleep System. Experience the beauty and craftsmanship of Austrian sleep products in the comfort of your own home. Investing in high-quality sleeping products, like those offered by SAMINA, guarantees a good night’s rest.
Choose from the wide range of products available and feel the difference yourself. Contact us and schedule an appointment today!