What is one thing which could improve your sleep quality & productivity?
Over the past few months I’ve developed a habit of sleeping early (by 9-10pm). And this has brought a great change in my routine. Consistently waking up at the same time and exposure to 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight upon awakening, reinforces the body’s circadian rhythm and enhances wakefulness in the morning and then improves your sleep quality at night.
To sleep early I avoid exposure to bright light or any screen after 9pm. And I started using red bulbs instead of LED tube lights at night time. The reason is the amount of blue light emitted by smartphone screens and LED lights. Blue light play a major role in affecting your sleep cycle.
Until the advent of technology, the sun was the major source of lighting, and people spent most of their evenings in darkness. However, in modern times, nights are illuminated by artificial sources of light, and we take our easy access to all those gleam for granted. But we might be paying a heavy price for all that artificial illumination. At night, light (especially blue light) throws the body’s biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, researches have shown it to contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
The science behind it
What is wrong about blue light?
Different colours of light have different wavelengths which produce different effects on human body. Blue wavelengths are beneficial during daylight hours because of their positive impacts on your attention, reaction times, and mood. But they seem to be most disturbing at night. And with the excessive usage of gadgets with screens, as well as LED lighting, our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown, is dramatically increasing.
Effect of blue light on your sleep
The blue light that’s emitted from modern screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule.
The reason that blue light is so problematic is that it has a short wavelength that affects levels of melatonin more than any other wavelength does. Light from fluorescent bulbs and LED lights can produce the same effect.
Normally, the pineal gland in the brain begins to release melatonin a couple of hours before bedtime, and melatonin reaches its peak in the middle of the night. So your body seems to stay awake. Moreover, dim orange lights from bulbs has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin. In conclusion, expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day to boost your mood and alertness, and forbid the use of artificial lights at night to improve your sleep quality.
Benefits of correcting your internal clock (I experienced)
- Have better concentration during day and you work more efficiently.
- Don’t feel sleepy in the afternoon and stay alert all day.
- Feel refreshed and stay in good mood all day.
- Feel less hungry and stop late night snacking which makes you gain weight.
- And the quality of your sleep is improved as well.
And because of all this I feel more energetic, healthy and productive. So shut down your smartphones and laptops at night today to have a good day tomorrow.
Have a good day!