by Lenette Nakauchi
(NaturalNews) In order to fall asleep, the human body produces melatonin, a hormone created in the pineal gland. Melatonin allows the body to relax enough to sleep, allowing it to follow the natural circadian rhythm. However, some environmental factors can interfere with the production of melatonin and make falling asleep naturally a highly difficult task. One such factor is blue light.
Why is light such a crucial factor? Before technology and electricity, the human body relied upon environmental light to determine when it was time to sleep and when it was time to wake up. In today’s world there are alarm clocks, cell phones, and other devices that dictate when it is time to get out of bed, but the body has yet to adapt to these technological changes. Despite the fact that you may have depended upon an alarm clock for your entire life, your body is still capable of matching its sleep cycle to the natural cycle of the environment.
Blue light is a part of the light spectrum that is especially visible during the day, making its appearance a cue to the body to wake up. No matter how tired you are, your body may be limited in its production of melatonin if you are exposed to blue light. It follows, then, that avoiding blue light before going to bed is a great way to allow your body to produce the natural levels of melatonin that it needs to fall asleep.
Though this sounds straightforward, many of the technological gadgets that people use emit the blue light that reduces melatonin production. For example, the screens on computers and television sets can interfere with natural sleep habits because they emit the blue light that limits the melatonin produced in the brain. In an effort to sleep peacefully, and fall asleep faster, people should avoid using their computers and watching television before bed.
Though watching a sitcom or playing solitaire before falling asleep may be a habit, picking up a book or having a quiet conversation with your spouse before drifting off will be more conducive to a naturally restful sleep. Should it be necessary for you to use a computer, though, f.lux is a free downloadable program that can make your computer screen’s blue light levels fluctuate, depending upon the time of day. This will help ease your body back into the natural circadian rhythm even if you have to work late or get an earlier than normal start.
The health benefits of getting an ideal amount of sleep are numerous, but avoiding blue light can also bring about other health improvements, including the reduction of ADHD symptoms, the avoidance of postpartum depression, the prevention of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and even a reduced risk of cancer.
Getting enough sleep is a task that challenges many people, but doing what you can to help your body rest naturally can greatly improve the quality of the sleep that you are able to get. By avoiding blue light in the evening and right before bed, you can help your body produce the optimal amount of melatonin and you can fall asleep in a natural way. Additionally, you will reap all of the benefits that a healthy sleep cycle provides.