There are a number of scientific papers that give different reasons to reduce the amount of light that you get exposed to at night. Before we go into that though it's worth just thinking about our ancestors and the natural environment that our bodies evolved in. Turn the clock back just a few thousand years (not very long in terms of evolution) and once the sun went down all you had for light was the glow of the moon. No street lights, night lights, TVs, phones, laptops or iPads to keep you awake or shine light into your sleeping face! That's how our bodies evolved, so it's simple to see why it should be best for our bodies now.
Into the research though...
- the first study looked at how blue tinted light (like that from electronic decides) impacts our hormone levels as we sleep. The study found that increased exposure to blue light at night actually reduces our ability to create 'happy mood' hormones. If you wake up grumpy or generally struggle to be a positive and happy person then limit your exposure to blue light at night and see the difference.
- another study looked at dim light, for example the sort of light that might creep through your curtains or from a low power night light. The results of that one showed that dim light exposure at night effects your bodies ability to deal with stress. Now we're not just talking the 'obvious' stress that sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out, but also internal stress such as fighting disease or bacteria, repairing injury or recovering from a workout. Want to help keep the stress levels down? Reduce exposure to dim light!
- the last one we're looking at today looked at the difference between keeping a light on at night or not in the elderly population. The results showed some interesting differences between the 2 different populations. Those that kept a light on had increased blood triglycerides, abdominal obesity (sign of stress) and general obesity too.
So there you go. 3 examples of studies carried out on different groups of people and testing different results and each of them give a pretty good reason to reduce you light at night. Like we always say - give it a go and see what happens. Try and reduce your light exposure for a couple of weeks and see how you feel!