How Light Affects Your Sleep Cycle and Mood

Tags: fatigue, health, sunshine

Light is a powerful thing. It has the ability to affect your mood and sleep cycle. Daylight, in particular, has different effects on our body than artificial lights like fluorescent bulbs or computer screens. With longer days coming, having access to more daylight can improve overall wellbeing.

Most people are aware that light is a natural stimulant that wakes us up in the morning. But what many people don’t know is that light can also be used to help us fall asleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight during the day. This helps regulate our internal clock and promotes better sleep at night.

In this article, we'll look at how light affects our sleep cycle and mood. We'll also discuss the different health benefits and some supplements to help you get better sleep.

How Does Light Affect Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is produced in response to darkness and suppressed with light. In a 24-hour cycle, melatonin levels should rise in the evening as daylight fades and should drop off in the morning as light increases.

This natural rise and fall of melatonin help to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle. However, when light exposure occurs at the wrong time, it can disrupt the normal production of melatonin.

Light suppresses melatonin production more than any other wavelength of light, with blue light having the strongest effect. Blue light comes from many electronic screens (televisions, computers, phones), as well as LED and fluorescent lights.

Exposure to blue light in the evening can delay the onset of sleep and reduce total sleep time. Conversely, limiting blue light exposure in the evening can help to improve sleep.

How Does Light Affect Sleep Cycles?

Sleep cycles are the repeated patterns of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep that a person goes through during a night’s rest. The first sleep cycle typically has more deep sleep and the second sleep cycle has more REM sleep.

The amount of time spent in each type of sleep changes as a person ages. For example, infants spend more time in REM sleep, while older adults spend more time in deep sleep.

Light exposure can also affect the timing of a person’s sleep cycles. Blue light exposure in the evening can delay the onset of REM sleep and reduce its duration. This can lead to less restful sleep.

Conversely, limiting blue light exposure in the evening can help to improve REM sleep duration and quality.

How Does Light Affect Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is the body’s natural 24-hour rhythm that regulates many processes, including sleep. The circadian rhythm is controlled by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that responds to light exposure.

Light exposure is the most important factor in resetting the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm can be reset by bright light exposure in the morning and dim light exposure in the evening.

However, blue light has a stronger effect on the circadian rhythm than any other wavelength of light. Blue light exposure in the evening can delay the onset of sleep and reduce total sleep time.

Conversely, limiting blue light exposure in the evening can help to improve sleep.

How Does Light Affect Mood?

Light has a significant impact on mood and emotions. This is especially true for seasonal affective disorder, which is thought to be caused, in part, by changes in light exposure.

Light exposure can affect mood in both the short and long term. In the short term, light exposure can increase feelings of happiness and energy. In the long term, exposure to bright light can improve moods and reduce symptoms of depression.

While light exposure can have a positive effect on mood, too much artificial light can also lead to negative effects. Prolonged exposure to artificial light can disrupt circadian rhythm and throw off the body’s natural hormone production. This can lead to worsened moods, including depression and anxiety.

It’s important to note that not all light has a negative effect on mood. In fact, spending time outdoors in natural sunlight has been shown to improve mood. This suggests that it’s not just the amount of light exposure, but also the type of light that is important for mood.

6 Health benefits of Natural Lights

In addition to regulating our sleep cycle, exposure to daylight has a number of other health benefits. Here are eight of them:

1.Enhanced cognitive function

Natural lights help to boost cognitive function in a few different ways. First, exposure to daylight helps to synchronize our internal clocks with the natural world. This helps regulate our mood and sleep cycle. 

Additionally, natural light exposure has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. It's thought that this is because natural light helps to increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that's linked to mood and cognition.

2.Reduced stress levels

Natural light has been shown to help reduce stress levels. One way it does this is by helping to regulate the body's production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Additionally, exposure to daylight has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. This is likely due to the fact that natural light helps to increase serotonin levels.

3.Improved vision

Natural light is essential for good vision. It helps to regulate the production of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for pupil size. Additionally, exposure to daylight helps to improve contrast sensitivity and color perception. This is likely because natural light helps to increase the flow of blood to the eye.

4.Increased productivity and creativity

A survey run by Harvard Business Review on the future workplace shows that access to natural lights and outdoor space is the top priority for employees.

Workers in open, well-lit offices were more productive and creative than their counterparts in windowless offices. The researchers believe that this is because natural light makes people feel good. And when people feel good, they’re more likely to be productive and creative.

4.Increased vitamin D levels

Exposure to sunlight helps the body to produce vitamin D. This is an essential nutrient that helps to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and various cancers.

5.Prevents Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that affects people during certain times of the year, usually winter. One way to prevent SAD is by getting regular exposure to natural light. This helps keep your body’s internal clock on track and prevents depression from kicking in.

Light Therapy for shorter days?

For shorter days where there is less natural light, you might want to try light therapy. It’s a treatment that uses a special type of light box to emit bright light. The idea is that the light will help regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle and improve your mood.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about trying light therapy. First, make sure you buy a light therapy box that emits 10,000 lux of bright white light (not blue light). Second, sit near the light for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning. And third, don’t look directly into the light; instead, keep it at least 18 inches away from your face.

Which Sleep Supplement Is Right for You?

Access to daylight, and the absence of artificial light at night, is crucial for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. But failing that, we can always resort to supplements.

To figure out the best sleep supplement for you, it’s important to first understand what you’re looking for. Some people are looking for a supplement that will help them fall asleep fast, while others are looking for a supplement that will help them stay asleep throughout the night.

  • Melatonin

  • Like we have said earlier, Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. It’s produced in the brain and is released in response to darkness. But for various reasons, our Melatonin release can be interrupted. This is where supplements can help.

    Melatonin supplements can help to promote sleep by resetting the body’s internal clock. They’re also thought to be effective for treating jet lag and shift work sleep disorder. Melatonin supplements are available in a variety of forms, including pills, capsules, gummies, and liquids.

  • CBD

  • CBD is a compound found in cannabis that’s been shown to have various health benefits. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. This means that it won’t make you feel high.

    CBD has been shown to be effective for treating anxiety and pain. It’s also thought to help with insomnia by reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality. CBD is available in a variety of forms, including oils, capsules, gummies, and creams. At CPRESS, we highly recommend APOTHEM, Lights Out CBD oil drops.

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D has both a direct and an indirect role in the regulation of sleep. A study pubblished on The National Library of Medicine, explains how Vitamin D is also involved in the pathways of production of Melatonin, the hormone involved in the regulation of human circadian rhythms and sleep.

    Our team at CPRESS swears by BetterYou D4000 Vitamin D Oral Spray 

  • Water 

  • Dehydration can interfere with sleep quality and quantity. In fact, even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and disrupt your sleep cycle. 

    To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, it’s important to drink plenty of water during the day. May we suggest to spice things up a little with CPRESS Detox waters ?

    With longer days coming as we approach summer, it's important to be aware of how light can affect our mood and wellbeing. By understanding the effects of light on our body, we can make small changes to our daily routine that can lead to a more productive and healthy lifestyle.


    This article was contributed by Sarra Turki

    PS: "This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.”

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