There has always been a connection between darkness and sleep. Clearly with our ancestors relying on natural daylight to work and perform daily chores it was only natural to rest and sleep while it was dark.
However, with modern day technology light doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. With bright street lamps, plenty of indoor lighting options and screens in every size we have light whenever we want and need. This can make it more difficult to regulate your sleep with the natural rising and setting sun.
Even with all the technology in play we still find the desire to sleep surrounded by darkness. Why is it that we sleep in the dark? We are going to answer this question among many others as we provide tips and trick on how to use both dark & light in your favor to get your best sleep possible.
Why Do We Sleep In The Dark?
The answer to this question goes back to how we use to live for thousands of years. Human beings use to rise and fall with the light of day. This is because the daylight gives us the ability to see and get our work done. The sun also brings warmth and the ability to hunt, and forage for food. Simply put, we are made to be active during the day when we can see properly.
When the sun goes down, it can become near impossible to gather food, or continue working without the help from daylight. Not to forget dangerous from possible predators too.
Candle light and the light from a fire can only do so much. Nights tend to be cooler than daytime as well. Our bodies also prefer to be cooler as we head off to sleep. Since we are not built to be nocturnal, it is engrained in us that when it is dark, that is the time for going to sleep.
Have you ever wondered why we sleep? Learn more in our post: The Importance of Sleep & Why Do We Sleep?
Our Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is the name for our internal clock. It has a play in hormone regulation for our energy and activities through the day and night. Your circadian rhythm that is triggered by light in the morning and sends out hormones in order to have our minds and bodies begin to wake up and regain consciousness.
It is also our circadian rhythm that helps us to go to sleep at night. When you maintain a consistent sleep schedule, the more effective our circadian rhythm becomes at doing this. When you start your nightly routine and then turn off the screens and lights. It sends signals to your circadian rhythm that it is time to go to sleep. Your brain then sends out hormones like melatonin in order to induce sleep.
Learn more about how different circadian rhythm typologies can affect your sleep habits and energy in our post: Chronotypes: Your Circadian Typology
Is Blue Light Bad For Sleep?
Blue light is the term used to describe a frequency of light that is often emitted by smartphones, televisions, tablets, computers, and other screens. This kind of light is translated by our brains as being very similar to sunlight. Which means our brains react to the light from these screens as if we were sitting outside on a sunny afternoon.
High levels of blue light consumption during he evenings can indeed throw off your circadian rhythm and make it harder to get to sleep at night. Which is why it can be helpful to where blue light blocking glasses and/or simply turn off the screens at least one hour before you plan on getting ready for bed.
It may be time to get your tv out of the bedroom. Learn more in our post: Should You Have A TV In Your Bedroom?
How Does Daylight Saving Affect Our Sleep?
While daylight savings used to have a greater affect on our sleep and wake patterns when we relied more on the sun, it is more the shift in our schedules that seems the have a negative affect on our energy levels now.
In the Spring, daylight saving tends to be a more difficult adjustment. This is due to “losing” an hour of sleep. While the fall is much easier as you are “gaining” an hour of rest. While the added light throughout the day may be beneficial for your sleeping habits, it doesn’t make as much of a difference as it used to.
Click the link to learn more about how Daylight Saving can affect your sleep, and how to ensure you continue to get as much sleep as you need: Adjusting Your Sleep During Daylight Savings
Why Do Children Need Night Lights?
The real question here is… Why are children afraid of the dark? Truly, a fear of what is in the darkness that cannot be seen is a fear we all have. The unknown can be very frightening. As we age and come to realize that for the most part we are very safe sleeping in our beds at home. Our fear of the dark becomes less intense. We are able to use our logic to calm ourselves down.
We know the front door is locked and that our alarm system, or pets would be causing alarm if something or someone had broken into our home. So we can safely assume that we are safe. Children do not have the logic or experience to draw on the idea of assumed safety. Their fear of the dark is very natural. Night lights and big hugs tend to do the trick.
Get more tips on how to help your children conquer their fear of the dark in our post: Say Goodbye To Being Afraid Of The Dark
Best Sleep Products For Easy Wake Up :
Light Alarm Clocks
Now that we know how the circadian rhythm works, you can use it to your advantage. We don’t always get to sleep in until the sunrises, or our blackout curtains prevent us from being able to have the sunrise wake us up. Which is why light based alarm clocks can be a relaxing and incredibly effective way to wake up in the morning.
We found that when using the light alarm clocks that the gently rising light of the alarm clock woke us up more naturally than a sound alarm clock. It was gradually and made you feel as if you were waking up on your own and not due to a jarring loud alarm.
Click the link to shop the Philips Hue Light Alarm Clock
Street lights, twinkle lights, your neighbor’s porch light, even a full moon can be enough light to make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Which is why we love investing in a nice set of blackout curtains for your bedroom. There are many different styles of blackout curtains, so you can insure you are getting a design that will work with your interior design style.
Not only are blackout curtains great to use at night, they are also a great addition to use during any needed afternoon naps as well. Do be mindful that if you typically enjoy rising with the sun in the mornings, that you will be blocking out that light as well until you are awake enough to open up the curtains.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
One way to lower the negative impact of blue light emitting technology, is by using blue light blocking glasses. Sometimes you simply can’t get away from the screens. Whether you are finishing a late night project for work, or you are paying your taxes online.
Unfortunately it isn’t always as simple as just putting your smartphone down, or turning off the tv. Which is where blue light blocking glasses can really come in handy. They help to block out those blue light rays in order to allow you to do what you need to do and sleep better at night.
Adjustable Bedframes – Underlighting:
If you are looking for built in lighting for your bed, then you have come to the right place. Adjustable bases are a huge trend right now. People really love how versatile they make your bedroom and laying position. One big benefit to many of the new and higher end styles, is that they come with underbed glow lighting. This feature allows you to cast a gentle glow underneath your bed.
Which is perfect for when you are getting in and out of bed in the middle of the night and need just a little help seeing where you are going without turning on any larger lights. Which is very helpful if your significant other wakes up very easily throughout the night. Also a big bonus for new parents and any other reason you may need to be getting out of bed without disturbing your partner with lighting up the entire room.
Click the links to view our reviews over the following adjustable bases with under bed lighting:
When It Comes To Sleep, We Prefer It Dark
Darkness & light play a big part in how we fall asleep and wake up. We love to block out the light in order to get to sleep at night. Meanwhile the rising sun is nature’s alarm clock. Making a gradual increase in light one of the most natural ways you can wakeup in the morning. We hope this post has helped you to learn how to use light, or the lack of it, to your advantage in order to get better sleep. As well as better understand your bodies natural inclination to sleep in the dark.
If you have any questions for us, be sure to drop us a message through our Contact Us page. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have as best as we can.