After sunset, darkness signals our brain that it’s time to produce melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles. However, artificial lighting—especially the “blue” light that comes from many electronic devices—suppresses melatonin production, making it more difficult to wind down.
“As we expose ourselves to light during the day, we’re suppressing melatonin, which helps signal the circadian rhythm that it’s time for bed,” says Kevin Carter, DO, family medicine physician who is fellowship-trained in sleep medicine. “Research shows that this disruption to our internal clock affects sleep not just that night but the next night as well,” Dr. Carter says. “Unfortunately, many people use their devices before bed, thinking it will help them relax, but it’s doing just the opposite.”
How can I improve sleep habits?
To help your brain wind down for sleep naturally, Dr. Carter recommends the following:
Why is good sleep important?
Lack of sleep, or frequently interrupted sleep, contributes to lack of focus, increased mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, and short-term memory loss. Make sure you’re taking care of your body and getting adequate rest to stay safe and healthy.
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