Most of us are running on empty, racing from work to home to work with less shut eye than our bodies need.
Not to focus too much on the doom and gloom but . . . sleep deprivation has been shown to cause reduced performance and alertness, memory and cognitive reduction, increased stress hormones, a higher risk of occupational injury, confusion and headaches. Long-term consequences include impairment to the body?s healing processes and growth, high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, stroke, psychiatric problems including depression . . . and the list goes on.
Interestingly, research has shown this modern-day epidemic is caused, in part, by our exposure to blue light at night, which interrupts the body?s natural melatonin release. Now, it?s a little difficult avoiding the use of overhead lights, the television, computer, your smartphone and any other technological device that we rely on, but there are tactics you can employ to reduce the effects—so don?t despair!
Step 1. Try downloading the f.lux app onto your computer, iPad, and/or smartphone.
Computer screens are designed to emulate daylight, which is great for day but a problem at night. The f.lux application will automatically alter your screen to a warm glow at night and return it to the blue light in the morning. You will be amazed at the reduction in eye strain and glare.
Step 2. Get direct sunlight exposure in the morning. Everyone?s circadian rhythm (daily cycle of biological activity) varies and hence the timing of our melatonin release varies. By ensuring direct sunlight exposure for 20 minutes in the morning you can set your melatonin release for a more regular, deeper sleep. Try the Centre For Environmental Therapeutics Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire to establish the time your natural melatonin release occurs and the corresponding time you should receive sun exposure in the morning.
Image credit: 2012 Book Archive