A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep. If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are some evidence-based tips to sleep better at night.
1. Increase bright light exposure during the day
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%. A similar study in older adults found that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%. While most research involves people with severe sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect. Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
Blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts — is the worst in this regard.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
Wear glasses that block blue light.
Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
- The following are the negative effects of poor sleep.
- What do you call the body's natural time-keeping clock?
- What is the advantage of a daytime bright light exposure?
- What happens if you do not reduce blue light exposure in the evening?
- How many hours before you head to bed do you need to turn off any bright lights?