In the theme of keeping your room cavernous (dark, quiet and cool), you want to get it as dark as possible. And I mean dark. If you can’t sleep, resist the urge to play Words With Friends until you get sleepy. Not only does the light from your device disrupt your body clock, your mind should be resting, not trying to figure out how “QI” is an actual word. It might be a challenge to get your room dark if someone sleeps with the TV on, or if those gorgeous lace curtains you put up have you getting up with the sun. There are a few things you can do to get your room dark in order to kick off melatonin production and get your best night’s sleep possible.
1. Dark Room → Melatonin = Sleepy
Sleeping in a dark room can greatly improve your quality of sleep. Darkness causes the brain to produce the hormone melatonin, which gives us that sleepy feeling (Life-Enhancement). Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep aid, which is only produced once all artificial and natural light is gone and the room is as dark as possible.
2. Blackout Shades
Install blackout shades in your bedroom. Blackout shades are thick, heavy curtains that block outside light. These are especially helpful for daytime sleepers. Even if the rising sun doesn’t completely wake you up, its light sends wakeful messages to the brain, affecting sleep quality.
3. Eye Mask
If you’re not ready to install blackout shades, try an eye mask. Blocking out all light with an eye mask is one of the best ways to induce melatonin production, which helps you fall asleep faster.
4. Blue Light Electronics = Prolonged Insomnia
Don’t use your smartphone, tablet or laptop in bed. Before you run away screaming, you should know there is legitimate science directly linking insomnia and sleep quality to the use of your phone or tablet before bed. The type of light our devices give off is called “blue light.”
Harvard sleep researcher Steven Lockely explains via Chicago Tribune,
“Blue light preferentially alerts the brain, suppresses the melatonin and shifts your body clock all at the same time. Your brain is more alert now and thinks it’s daytime because we have evolved to only see bright light during the day.”