If you have had trouble sleeping, have talked to someone who has trouble sleeping, or read about this subject, you have probably heard the term “circadian rhythm.” In basic terms, this cycle occurs within the body on a 24-hour basis. It determines much of what happens in human behavior and what happens in physical/chemical changes.
There are elements outside the body that can significantly affect this cycle, including the amount of light around us, or lack of it. Light is one of the most important items to consider when you prepare a room for sleeping, simply because our response to light stimuli is so deeply ingrained in our beings.
In the past, the presence of artificial/man-made light was not a problem. People, plants and animals worked, played, and were active during the time that sunlight provided its warmth. When the sun went beyond the horizon, activities changed. Living things slowed down and eventually they slept (except for night predators, which is another story altogether).
Daylight, when the sun appeared above the eastern horizon, meant safety and the ability to see, for hunting, gathering, doing other tasks. Today, millions of human beings live by a different cycle, one that is shown by hands on a clock. We often work at night, under artificial light, and try to sleep during the day.
If this is an issue for you, or if your room still contains too much light at night, there are steps you can take to improve the situation. If you are a night worker, you should do all you can to block out daylight at your windows. Heavy draperies will help. Covering the windows under the draperies is a good idea as well.
While we will not get into the idea of sound as it affects sleep, you should also make sure that there are no external noises when you are trying to sleep. The body reacts strongly to light, as mentioned. But, even when a person is in the deepest sleep stage, the senses are able to respond to outside stimuli. This includes the sense of hearing.
The first step you should take to give yourself a chance to sleep well is to make your room dark. The window coverings and draperies mentioned earlier are a solid first step. Even if you have to use tape and small strips of some material, you should try to block out light that leaks around the draperies, as well as under the door, if that presents a problem.
The second idea involves those electronic items that bug us on a daily basis. Don’t take your cell phone into the bedroom. If you do, put it on the vibrate setting and set it on a side table. But it is better not to have this possible interruption in your room. You should also eliminate other sources of artificial light, such as digital clocks. A warm glow from a fireplace or similar light is not usually an issue. But bright red light and bright blue light could be an issue, just as an example. Try some of these ideas. They could help you sleep better.