Sleep Better This Very Night

man sleeping

Sleep Better This Very Night

Think back to when you were a kid. As the day came to a close and it was time for you to go to sleep, you were likely given two final directives from your loving (and likely exhausted) mother: “Turn out the light, and go to bed!” Well, even though you’re all grown up, I find I must echo those same directives to you again, beginning with “TURN OUT THE LIGHT!”

Many adults are having difficulty these days transitioning from the day into the night. Even after your head hits the pillow, you have trouble drifting off to sleep. The problem may have much to do with your well-lit pre-bedtime environments. You see, the brain needs a hormone, melatonin, to aid in the initiation and support of sleep. This hormone’s production is directly linked to how much light our eyes take in as bedtime approaches. The more darkness there is, the more melatonin we produce, the sleepier we become.

In our high tech world, we are bombarded with bright lights from early morning to late at night. Back lit cell phones, tablets, laptops, big screen televisions, and video games, used right up until bed time, are wrecking havoc on our melatonin production! So if you want to sleep better this very night, I suggest that you consider joining “the dark side”.

One hour before you plan to go to bed, begin to dim the lights around your home. (And please, set your bedtime to take place at least 7 hours before your alarm clock is set to ring—that’s the “GO TO BED!” part of my advice.) Turn off the television, close your laptop, power down your tablet and cell phone, and just sit back, relax, and make some melatonin. Have a (non-stressful) conversation; read a book with the glow of a small bedside lamp; pet the dog. This way, when you find yourself manufacturing enough melatonin to fall asleep and to stay asleep, you can heartily agree that your mother was right!

To return to previous Monday Morning Health Tips, click here.