January 18, 2021 – by Alex Kelly
In our brain we have a gland called the pineal gland that is responsible for producing melatonin. Our bodies are designed to begin winding down at sunset. This is when the pineal gland begins its production of melatonin in order to aid us in a good night’s sleep.
However, with the advancement of technology and media, we have begun tricking our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime. This can have serious effects on our health.
Before technology, media, and even electricity, when it became dark there was not much more to do than sleep (or maybe read by candlelight). Now with nightly television, computer and phone screens, and a booming “nightlife” culture, we fool our brains into thinking it’s still daytime and the pineal gland won’t start producing melatonin until about 4:00-6:00am in the morning. This breaking of the natural cycle may be one of the reasons you feel groggy waking up in the morning.
Of course, we live in a time where sometimes it’s just not possible to turn off all screens and go to bed as soon as it’s dark. But there are a few things you can do in order to improve your sleep cycle.
- Depending on when you have to wake up in the morning, you may need to go to bed earlier. You want to be getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night.
- Dim lights when it gets dark outside. Katie Wells of Wellness Mama uses salt lamps to light her house at night. This is a great idea! Salt lamps also help cleanse the air by removing dust and pollution from the air with negative ions.
- As soon as the sun sets, use blue light glasses if you are going to be on screens.
- Blue light glasses with adjustable frames
- Budget friendly blue light glasses
- Blue light glasses for kids
- Stay away from screens at least an hour before bed. If this is not possible, at least use blue light glasses. *Many devices these days have features where you can filter out the blue light.