Sleep: 7 simple tips for sleeping well

You may not be getting enough sleep, like most people, and the consequences go far beyond just being tired and feeling “floppy” during the day. For example, sleeping less than five hours a night can double your risk of heart disease and heart attack and/or stroke. Research has also shown a persistent link between lack of sleep and weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Help your circadian rhythm, sleep better and optimize your health

1) Make sure you get regular exposure to sunlight during the day. Your pineal gland produces melatonin approximately in proportion to the contrast between your exposure to daylight and complete darkness at night. If you’re in the dark all day, it can’t perceive this contrast and therefore won’t optimize your melatonin production.

To allow your circadian rhythm to reset, expose yourself to at least 10 to 15 minutes of daylight every morning. This will make it very clear to your internal clock that day has dawned, which will prevent it from being disturbed during the course of the day by a weaker light.

2) Also allow for 30-60 minutes of daylight exposure in the middle of the day to “set” your clock. The ideal time to spend some time outside is solar noon. But an outing in the light of day is always useful, whatever the time of day. A light therapy lamp that mimics the intensity of daylight can come in handy when you can’t go outside during the day.

3) Avoid watching TV or using your computer at night, at least an hour before bedtime. After sunset, avoid light as much as possible to promote the natural secretion of melatonin, which helps you feel sleepy. Devices such as smartphones, televisions, and computers emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and these devices emit light that may delay this process and prevent you from falling asleep.

4) Beware of electromagnetic waves in your bedroom. Electromagnetic waves can disrupt your pineal gland and melatonin production, but they can also have other harmful biological effects. If you want to measure the different levels of electromagnetic waves in your home, use a gaussmeter. At the very least, keep all electrical devices at least one meter away from your bed. Ideally, turn off all devices before sleeping. You can also consider turning off your wifi hotspot. You don’t need internet access when you sleep.

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5) Sleep in complete darkness. Even dim light in your bedroom can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. The mere glow from your clock radio can disturb your sleep, so it’s best to cover it up at night or just get rid of it altogether. It is advisable to put curtains on the windows, or blackout blinds. The sleep mask is a more economical alternative.

6) Install a low wattage bulb, yellow, orange or red, if you need light for getting around at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production like white or blue bandwidth light does.

7) Keep your room temperature below 21°C. People often tend to overheat their homes (especially upstairs bedrooms). The optimum temperature for a bedroom is between 15° and 20°C.

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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