Posts Tagged ‘light therapy’

Are you sleeping?

My alarm clock just let me know it’s time to wake up… but it’s still dark outside. The nights are getting progressively longer and even the days are darker when it’s raining. While my alarm clock is working fine my body clock is confused.

Disrupting decent sleep even more is that darn Daylight Saving Time. In the fall, when you turn the clocks back an hour you might think you can get an extra hour with the sand man. But few of you will actually get that additional hour of sleep. In the week after changing your clocks, you might wake up earlier than usual, have more trouble falling asleep, and be more likely to wake up during the night. You’re adjusting to shorter, darker days that just get shorter and darker.

All of this can affect both your health and your attitude. When it’s hard for you to get a good night sleep you might find that you’re irritable, groggy, and lacking focus during the day. You might also feel anxious or depressed.

Do you suffer from blues throughout the winter? If yes, you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. The condition is defined by symptoms such as lethargy, low mood, excessive tiredness, and even weight gain. A drop in serotonin levels may play a part in the development of SAD. Not to get too technical, but less of this neurotransmitter at the nerve synapses is something those of you with ADHD are already dealing with.

What to do?

You may recall me harping on routines. Having a regular routine for winding down and going to bed at more or less the same time each night is important. This will help your body clock. You might also look into full spectrum lighting. The light therapy boxes mimic outdoor light and cause a change in your brain that modifies the impact of the long dark days.

Electronic screens can disrupt the brain cycles needed for sleep, so shut down the computer, television, tablet, and cell phone 30-60 minutes before bed. Need something to do in that 30-60 minutes? Read a book or do a crossword (both are available in paper formats).

Read more about how artificial light impacts sleep here:

https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html