Having trouble sleeping? This is what you should do.

Unless you have some form of medical problem that affects your body’s ability to sleep, it’s highly likely that your sleep problems are caused by a disruption to your body’s main circadian rhythm.

Basically your internal clock is not properly set which means that your body does not know if it’s time to be asleep or awake.

So how does this work? Well your body uses light as its main sensor for correctly setting the internal clock. The onset of the day is synchronised with an increase in light and the onset of night with the absent of light towards the evening. This all makes a lot of sense and means that if we are exposed to outdoor light levels during the day and dim light towards the evening our body will respond correspondingly. That is, we will be alert during the day and sleepy during the night.

However here’s the catch, the amount of light that we are exposed to if we stay indoor during the majority of the day, working in an office or factory or by commuting to give a few examples, is not strong enough to trigger a light response.

To our bodies we are existing in what seem like a twilight zone, the light is not strong enough to correctly set our internal clock, but at the same time it is strong enough to reduce our levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that make us tired towards the end of the day in preparation for our sleep period.

In other words we get the worse of both sides by staying indoors and exposing ourselves to intermediate levels of light, this light is either too dark to trigger a light response and at the same time strong enough to diminish our dark response.

This is what you should do to get a better night’s sleep!

So what should you do? Well we need to expose ourselves to high levels of light at the start of the day. This can be done by either staying outdoors for somewhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or by using an artificial light source such as a light therapy lamp with a strong enough light.

This is why I advocate for  the use of light therapy lamps if you are not exposed to enough light during the early to mid parts of the day. The alternative is to go for morning walks or similar to compensate for the lack of light during the remainder of the day. In addition, you need to reduce the amount of light that you are exposed to towards the evening. Indoor light is strong enough to significantly reduce your body’s production of melatonin.

To summarize, this is what you should do. Buy a light therapy lamp and use it in the morning or go for morning walks, or even better, combine these two actions for an even stronger exposure to light at the start of the day. In the evening, reduce any light that you are exposed to and use blue light filters for your electronic products.

You can see a list of our recommended light therapy lamps here. Or just click around on the site for good suggestions.

Read this post for our advice on which light therapy lamp to choose.

Finally, this helped me solve my sleep problems and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

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