Welcome to Day 12 of the Free 30-Day Ultimate You Healthy Habits Challenge brought to you by Sleekgeek and Health24!
On this 30 day challenge you will receive one task daily to complete in order to help you eat, move, think, and sleep better.
Today’s task is to block out light at night:
For some, this may be common sense, but for others you may be completely confused as to why blocking out light at night can be so important for your health.
Well, this is one of those teeny tiny strategies that you can implement which takes very little effort yet rewards you with enormous benefits!
A hormone called melatonin plays a very important role in regulating our internal sleep-wake clock called the circadian rhythm. When we are exposed to bright light (particularly blue light from electronics, LED bulbs, etc) our brains interpret it to mean that it’s daytime so melatonin production gets suppressed.
This means with light exposure at night it becomes harder and takes longer for us to fall asleep. Some people are more sensitive to this than others, but in general light exposure can affect both the quality and quantity of our sleep..
That is why your task for tonight is to make your room as dark as possible at night, and avoid bright light (particularly from electronics) an hour or so before bedtime.
For a more in-depth explanation and all the science behind how blue light disrupts your sleep you can read Authority Nutrition’s article on the topic: http://authoritynutrition.com/block-blue-light-to-sleep-better/
How to complete today’s task:
Your top priority is to make your room as dark as possible at night for when you do go to sleep.
Ideally you should be able to open your eyes wide at night and not see ANY light at all. You shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. This isn’t always possible, but the goal is to get as close to that as possible.
- Turn off your lights (duh).
- Make sure there is no other light in the house leaking into your bedroom under the door or through your windows.
- Cover up any electronic lights such as on your TV, house alarm, air-conditioner, and even your bedside clock. It can be simple such as putting a bit of Prestik or tape over the bulb, or taping down a sheet of paper over it.
- Close your curtains and blinds, if need be throw an extra towel or blanket over them to make sure no street light leaks into your bedroom.
- If this is impossible, consider purchasing a simple sleep mask from your local pharmacy of travel agency.
Once you are finished light-proofing your bedroom for an amazing night’s sleep, all that’s left is to optimize a few things in your evening ritual.
1-2 hours before going to bed:
- Turn off any unnecessary lighting. Opt for softer, warmer, dimmer lights – think “romantic candlelit dinner”.
- Avoid watching TV, being on your computer, looking at your mobile phone or tablet, or anything else that has a bright screen. This is HARD, but it’s absolutely critical!
- If you like to read before bed, read a real book or a tablet like certain Kindles that do not have any backlighting at all.
- If you don’t like to read but still want something to do, how about listening to some relaxing music or grabbing one of those adult colouring books?
Remember: Sleep is one of the most overlooked limiting factors on your journey to living a healthy lifestyle. Improving it any way you can – no matter how small the improvements – should be an absolute top priority.
Want more of this kind of thing?
- Read Precision Nutrition’s blog post on Hacking Sleep: Engineering a High-Quality, Restful Night.
See you tomorrow for your Day 13’s task.
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