Personally, one of the annoying things about summer time for me is the distinct lack of darkness at night time. It seems as though it’s light when I go to bed and it’s just as light when I wake up. Worse still, having light blazing through my windows at 4am is not the wake-up call I asked for.
It’s no coincidence that I feel slightly more tired for this. My refusal to engage in any DIY by putting up a black out blind is affecting my sleep. It’s actually messing up my body’s internal clock, after a long and dark winter my body associates darkness with sleep and lightness with being awake. It’s unfortunate that when I look at my clock which says 4am, that this message doesn’t seem to be transferred from my eyes to my internal clock.
Especially at night time, science shows that light exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone which helps to regulate our body clock and sends us to sleep, so we’re left feeling wide awake and even at risk of insomnia.
Scientists recently subjected some poor elderly adults to different intensities of light in their bedroom, and the brighter the light the worse their sleep was. The adults knew that they’d had a terrible nights sleep, and some fancy technology and observations confirmed these opinions. The more intense the light the longer it took people to fall asleep, the less people slept for, and the worse quality the sleep was.
Unless I’m going to relocate to Iceland or the Antarctic Circle, if I want to get good nights sleep during the summer then I’m going to have to engage in some DIY.
Faye Prior (Researcher)
Obayashi et al., (2014). Association between light exposure at night and insomnia in the general elderly population: The HEIJO-KYO cohort. Chronobiology International, Publish ahead of print July 15.