Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Even though we do not fully understand the role that sleeping plays in our lives, research has shown that sleep quality plays an essential role in maintaining healthy balanced hormones’ production throughout the cycle, and that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on many bodily functions such as the immune function, reproduction, mood regulation, and hormonal balance.
We are exposed to artificial blue light all the time –through our television screens, phones, kitchen lights, street lights, alarm clocks, and so much more. The sun is the greatest producer of blue light that our bodies need during the day time to function; although, staring at these “mini suns” and being exposed to blue light at night (when it is dark outside) can result in disrupting our sleep and compromising it. In nature, the only time we are exposed to blue light is at day time especially at noon, when the day is at its peak, and people are the most productive. Exposing ourselves to blue light at night time disrupts the communication between our brain and ovaries, leading to cycle disturbances. Those screens/blue light emitters trick our brains into this “noon state” where our bodies are constantly overworking themselves no matter the time of the day. No wonder that the first thing I ask women seeking help for their cycle problems is, “How is your sleep?”
When I had my first consultation session with a naturopathic doctor few months ago, one of the first things I had noticed was the doctor’s protective orange-looking glasses. I came to learn that they were glasses specifically designed to block off blue light. That was a turning point in my understanding of light exposure and quality of sleep.
So how can you optimize your sleeping experience to promote and maintain optimal cyclic health?
· Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep at night.
· The skin has light receptors that sense light at all times. By exposing your body to sunlight first thing in the morning, you’re helping your body realize that “it’s that time of the day!” 16 hours later, your body would naturally release melatonin to help you fall asleep.
· Exercising in the morning time has been shown to be more beneficial for both health and quality of sleep compared to exercising at night. Individuals who exercise in the morning tend to be more regular in their workouts, and have a cooler body temperature going to sleep.
· Limiting stimulants concussion after 2 pm could be a game changer to your quality of sleep. Even though you might think that these stimulants do not affect your sleep or that you can always fall asleep immediately after drinking a cup of coffee, the quality of that sleep is not the same.
· Switch your iphone brightness setting to Night Shift, or Twilight if you have an android phone. For computers, use F.lux. These changes would block the blue light on your screens making the colors look warmer or orange-like.
· Cover your windows with blackout curtains or blankets to block street lights.
· Leave all your phones, laptops, electronics, and LED alarm clocks off the bedroom, and cover the fire detector device’s light with a tape.
· Try to have a 2-hour of light-free time before bed.
We spend one third of our lives sleeping. It’s no wonder that sleep is an essential restorative process our body controls and regulates automatically when given the necessary tools. How is your sleep?
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