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Effects of light on Sleep.

Light has an intense psychological effect on sleep. Followed by old times, daytime signifies work time, and darkness means time to sleep. The evolution of humankind made 24/7 illumination possible that sometimes confuses the brain. From sunlight to streetlight, room light, and last but not the least, lights reflecting from our electronic devices have become connected parts of our life. Though light is very important during day time, the removal of light at night can help you sleep more peacefully. Even at times, when you are trying to take some rest during day time, exposure to light can hinder your slumber. 

 Light intervention can stimulate your body and mind making you awake, alert, and energetic.  Although a reflection of light on your eyes when you are trying to get some eye-shut can disrupt your slumber, the absorption of bright sunlight during the day can help you snuggle peacefully. Light affects the sleeping pattern and can cause restless sleep resulting in disorders like insomnia or mental problems. 

 Sleep is an essential part of the light and neglecting good sleep can cause serious harm mentally as well as physically. Light is an important element that determines the quality of sleep. If you are someone who keeps lights on while sleeping, it’s time you change the habit. To help you figure out why,


Here are 5 harmful effects of light on sleep

  • Affects circadian rhythm

Our body works on a circadian rhythm that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of the body. Exposure to light plays a vital role in keeping the circadian rhythm stable. Darkness indicates time to sleep where as, light indicates daytime. When we sleep in darkness at a specific time for the same no of hours regularly, our body adapts to the habit of resting at that very particular time period. When light reflects on the eyes during bedtime, it confuses the brain and affects the circadian rhythm. Exposure to light influences the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and ceases you from sleeping. 

  • No deep sleep 

Lights make it difficult for the brain to generate sleep signals. Reflection of light on your eyes can bring prolonged awakenings making deep, continuous sleep difficult. After tiring work the whole day, brain and body, both need adequate rest. However, it is difficult to sleep with the lights on. A small flash or ray of light can make you wake up cranking. Lights have severe effects on the eyes especially when it turns bright suddenly from the dark. It contracts and expands the pupils pressurizing the retina which then creates minute tension inside the eyes. Reflection of light when you are sleeping in a deep slumber can attack your brain causing sudden awakening. It is better to sleep without lights, in a room that encourages deep sleep. 

  • Makes eye-shut difficult- mentally active 

Doctors recommend keeping electronics away before an hour of actual sleeping. Because scientifically, our brain takes time to process and shut down all the thought processes before sleeping. It is when we retire in shade, our brain starts promoting sleep-inducing hormones. When we turn our devices off and lights out, while trying to sleep, it becomes difficult to sleep easily. Many of us fail to do and end up sleeping with an active subconscious. Doctors say, when you can recollect about what occurred around you, you haven’t slept well. Sleeping in dark helps you get sound sleep as the brain stops functioning for a while and rests transferring sleepy sensations. 

  • Eyestrains- teary, itchy eyes

Blue or LED lights have bad effects on the eyes. Extreme exposure to lights emitted from electronic devices can cause eye strains. Using cellphones, laptops, or tablets in bed right before sleeping can create eye problems like far-sightedness.  To keep our eyes healthy, it is better to throw away electronics and not bring them along in the bed. It is important to give some rest to the eyes just like the brain while sleeping. If not, it can cause problems like red eyes, itchy eyes, or continuous tears. 

      It also affects eye vision in the long run and can cause conjunctivitis, cataracts too. When your eyes pain due to heavy exposure to light, sleeping becomes difficult even though it is the only solution to cure the eye strains. To give some relaxation to your eyes and sleep quickly, peacefully, it is important to sleep in dark. 

  • Sleep-wake disorder- work shift disorder

Working hours are traditionally conceded as and during day time. However, some prefer winding up left-out work activities late after dinner, maybe in bed. Our body works according to the sleep-wake cycle regulated by the circadian rhythm. When your work activity takes longer than usual, it disrupts the sleep-wake cycle and your work shift. It keeps you exposed to light creating confusion in your mind. The sleep-wake cycle passes signals to rest but the exposure of light confuses the brain and circadian rhythm about the sleep time. 

        The absence of light generates sensation to the body about time to rest. Turning off the light suddenly and snuggling inside your bed may not help you sleep peacefully. Our brain needs time to relax and meditate before actually sleeping. A small light flash reflecting on your eyes or face can easily create problems and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. 

To tackle such issues may not be a one-day job. It takes time and happens gradually. One change that you can make to inculcate a good sleep pattern and routine and healthy environment is to change things that form the sleep-environment. Change it to a more comfortable and soothing mattress or pillows or duvets.