Artificial Light and How it Affects Sleep

When we’re having trouble sleeping at night, or feel groggy in mornings, the source of the problem might be in our own bedrooms. Artificial light, such as light from cell phones, alarm clocks, televisions, tablets, etc., can wreak havoc on our sleep cycles.

Artificial Light Disrupts Our Circadian Rhythm

A circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour sleep/wake cycle. It is heavily influenced by environmental light. During darker hours, our brains are triggered to begin producing melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep. Due to modern technology, we are increasingly exposed to artificial light during nighttime hours. According to a 2011 study, artificial light (referred to as “room light” in the study) before bedtime “exerts a profound suppressive effect on melatonin levels and shortens the body’s internal representation of night duration.” According to The National Sleep Foundation, disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm “has been shown to affect things like brain wave patterns, hormone production, and cell regulation” and “has also been linked to medical issues like depression, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease.”

It Could Impact the Way You Learn

Even though late-night study sessions seem like a good idea, the artificial “blue light” of computer screens can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. When your quality of sleep suffers, you can actually negative impact your brain’s ability to retain information! In one of our recent blogs, SleepSwag Sleep Masks and Student Success, we did some research and found that not only is sleep important for remembering facts and chunks of information, but it is also important for remembering “how” to do something.

Overexposure Could Increase Risk For Sleep Disorders

Chronic overexposure to artificial light before bedtime may lead to bigger problems. Long-term circadian rhythm disruptions can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia and delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD). To learn more, check out this article from the National Sleep Foundation: What is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?

Block Light at Night with a Sleep Mask

The best way to benefit your circadian rhythm would be to limit (or eliminate, if possible) the use of artificial light during the nighttime hours, especially before bedtime. However, our bodies can still be exposed to artificial light when we are asleep. This light can still disrupt our sleep cycle, even if we don’t wake up completely to realize it. The best way to prevent artificial light disruptions during sleep is to use a light blocking sleep mask. SleepSwag sleep masks are carefully handmade to help you block light during sleep in the most comfortable way possible. We also offer 20 stylish options to choose from! Click here to check out our secure online store. Sweet Dreams, --The SleepSwag Team

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