I'll start by recapping the reasons why sleep is so important. There are more and more studies coming out exploring the impact of poor sleep on our bodies and each one is pretty much saying lack of sleep increases chances of disease. Cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression are all consistently shown to increase in those of us that just don't get enough sleep. The reason behind this is because during sleep your body basically resets itself and fixes damage done during the day. With chronic low levels of sleep your body is unable to repair this damage and over time this leads to the increase in diseases.
I've also discussed how exposure to artificial light impacts sleep. This point is even more important now as the nights draw in. Artificial light has been shown in studies to mess with our melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control our Circadian rhythm and helps us get to sleep. Exposure to artificial light reduces levels of melatonin and therefore keeps us awake for longer. Melatonin is also thought to play an important role in some metabolic processes, so disrupting the circulating levels of it could be another reason for increase in disease risk.
Today though we'll take it one step further. The type of artificial light has a big impact too. Light that is at the blue end of the light spectrum impacts our melatonin levels more negatively than any other. I.e. being exposed to blue light is worse. What gives off blue light? TV's, laptops, tablets, phones and even light bulbs - technology generally does.
So what can you do? Replace some of your light bulbs with different coloured ones has been shown to have a difference. Replace the light bulbs you use in the evenings with red ones. Red light is the opposite end of the spectrum to blue light and has a much lower impact on levels of melatonin. Replace your bedroom light (or one of them) with a red bulb so whilst getting ready for bed, or if you have to get up during the night you don't disrupt your sleep too much. Another thing you can do if you have the right light switch is to dim the lights in the evening. This will make a difference to the levels of light being produced and again reduce the impact on melatonin.
It may sound simple or even silly to some, but if you really struggle to get to sleep or if you wake up tired all the time it's a good idea to try this. What's the worst that could happen! If you try it let me know how you get on in the comment section or by emailing me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org