Someone once told me that if people were meant to jump out of bed every morning, we would be living in toasters. In terms of kitchen, me getting up in the morning looks more like when a pancake is glued to the pan. While it seems that getting out of bed will never be a fun activity, sleeping better could ease our morning struggles and launch us well-rested into the new day.
“For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one.”
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Light and Dark Cycle
Since we were born, we were trained to sleep in dark surroundings, and it is not without a reason since light can be a huge sleep disruptor. But the relationship between light and dark controls our circadian rhythm, the cycle of wakefulness and sleep. And since we spend almost one-third of our lives sleeping, it is unnecessary to speak how vital sleep is.
Our internal body clock matches the real-time thanks to the ability of our eyes to detect those cycles of light and dark in our environment. Larks or early birds are those people who are entirely in sync with the outdoor rhythm, while night owls struggle to keep up. Jet lag is an excellent example of the light effect because exposure to light in a new time zone resets our inner clock and adjusts it to the local time.
Since today many of us work inside or rarely go out on the sun, we miss those benefits of natural light. We are not only sleep-deprived but also light-deprived. Artificial indoor lighting cannot compare to bright outdoor daylight, which is why Seasonal Affective Disorder is running so strong in certain European countries.
“The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.”
– Wilson Mizner
Light-deprivation does not mean that you are not exposed to bright natural light at all, a lot of times, it depends on the timing of your light exposure. For example, morning lightwill make us get up earlier and advance our inner clock. On the contrary, exposure to exposure to dusk light delays our clock and makes us get up later on the next day. People who work outside do not have this problem; they are exposed to dusk and dawn light, so their internal clock is not hindered.
However, not everyone can spend the entire day outside or watch the sunset and sunrise every day. Shift workers and students are two major groups of people who do not experience the dusk-dawn cycle fully. Students have a specific lifestyle due to which they tend to oversleep in the morning and stay up longer, exposing themselves to dusk light. But since they are still young, delay of their inner clock can interfere with hormonal changes which together can delay the internal clock for around two hours.
“Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.”
– Tom Roth
Bring Back The Light
Do you feel like you are done with waking up tired every morning? If you want to improve your sleep experience, sleep more soundly, and wake up feeling refreshed, rely on our recommendations that will reset your inner clock on factory settings. Consider this a form of self-care, because sleep is never a waste of time.
- Whether or not you have a light sleep, natural morning lighting can easily wake you up, leave your curtains slightly open or ditch them. If you do not have to go to work early in the morning, go for a walk, ride a bike, whatever, just go outside.
- Although we highly recommend light exposure, you should avoid screen light. This particularly stands for evening hours, or around bedtime. Staring at bright smartphone screens tricks our brain into thinking that it is daytime, and hinders your ability to fall asleep.
- If you spend plenty of time indoors, try maximizing the amount of daylight that comes inside. This can be done by coloring the walls with a white, or off-white paint, or by placing the mirrors so that the sun rays reflect against them.
“Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep.”
– Mesut Barazany
Alright sleepyheads that’s it, we hope we helped you understand better how the outdoor lighting controls our circadian rhythm. Forget about alarm clocks and let the sunlight control your morning, trust us, you will feel much better.