Getting the proper amount of sleep each night can be crucial to good health and stress reduction. Getting a good night’s rest is an essential part of your overall well being. Studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep, it may even cause more serious health problems down the road like obesity, heart disease or depression. Many people find that simply changing a few things in their lifestyle will help them sleep better at night.
The Right Environment
A good sleep environment is also one which promotes better quality sleep. Turn your bedroom into a mini-sanctuary for rest by turning it into a warm, cozy sanctuary where you can fall asleep, close your eyes and let the soothing sounds of nature lull you to sleep. The best sleep environment should fit in with your overall lifestyle. The best sleep environment should match up with the right type of temperature, light and sound, which allows you to get the rest you need.
In most people, insomnia starts in the bedroom where we spend the final hours of the day. However, research indicates that poor sleep does not necessarily start or end in the bedroom. There are many potential causes for poor sleep such as anxiety, physical illness, and stress. Insomnia can also occur due to excessive tension, poor relaxation, or disrupted circadian rhythms.
Early morning light or bright light exposure can activate the body’s natural biological mechanisms that regulate sleep-wake cycles in ways that interfere negatively with both the quality and quantity of sleep obtained. The hormone melatonin, a bio-chemical made in the pineal gland of the brain, is commonly referred to as the “sleeping hormone” or the “night hormone.” It is believed that alterations in melatonin levels may be responsible for disrupting sleep and leading to daytime sleepiness, loss of libido and an increased risk of accidents and injury. It is thought that the degree of its effect is related to the person’s innate or genetic make-up and sensitivity to light. People who have a higher than normal activity level or those with greater than normal sensitivity to light may be more prone to the impact of light on their circadian rhythm.
Light Blocking Curtains
Some researchers believe that people who are naturally exposed to very low levels of natural light are at a higher risk of developing sleep disorders, including insomnia and symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, depression, mood swings and lack of interest in sex.. Low-light environments can be very seductive. A feeling of profound relaxation and wellbeing can take hold when one is exposed to darkness for an extended period of time, which can be detrimental to sleep later on. Heavy curtains can help regulate the light in your bedroom, and help you get a better night’s sleep. Another benefit of heavy curtains can be energy savings. Combining window insulating curtains with the power to chose your utility provider can really add up in terms of your monthly budget.
Recent studies suggest that sleepiness is linked to a circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are the biological processes by which the brain coordinates the timing of daily activities with the natural circadian rhythm of the body. Circadian rhythms are most efficient at working when there is a fairly constant background light exposure. For most of us, the natural light exposure rhythms in our homes (daylight or non daylight hours) are reasonably constant. But for someone whose bedroom is equipped with bright lighting, the light exposure could become very different from the natural rhythm of the body.
This could lead to the development of a sleep disorder. If circadian rhythm and melatonin levels are out of balance, the result can be disrupted sleep and even insomnia. Research indicates that circadian dysrhythmia can be brought about by bright light exposure during the period of sleep or by bright fluorescent light during waking hours. The effects of white light on the human body are not well understood, but research indicates that they may be potentially harmful.
The above examples include both minor disruptions and major disruptions to sleep. As melatonin levels get out of balance, sleep can be disturbed. Insomnia and sleep apnea develop as a result of these irregularities. Some researchers have proposed that the link between bright light, melatonin and insomnia may be caused by the fact that melatonin is a chemical that is released by pinealocytes in the pineal gland.In addition to the possible causal link between melatonin and insomnia, melatonin has been postulated to play a role in sleep onset and persistence. It has been shown to be able to establish the timing of melatonin within the human circadian rhythm. It is this ability to set the circadian rhythm that has researchers most interested in it. They are trying to determine whether melatonin is able to correct circadian rhythms that are imbalanced as a result of jet lag, shift work or circadian rhythm disruption caused by certain medications.