Sleep Tips by Dr. Andreas Prasadja, RPSGT // Turning off the lights for Sleep and Health Quality
KOMPAS.com - Everybody is sleepy at night and feels rejuvenated in the morning. Daily eating cyle, sleep, and full vitality are parts of circadian rhytm or biological clock that is ticking in our bodies. This internal clock can also be affected by external factoris such as clock or other time indicators such as praying call, hawkers’ bell, or the most simple one which is light.
During human evolution, we have been depending on light-dark cycles. Human biological clock is sensitive to lights. Melatonin, which is also known as sleeping hormone, is only produced in the darkness. SCN or supriachiasmatic nucleus is the center of biological clock which judges from its name, has a light-sensitive trait. Nucleus is located above (supra) eye nerves (chiasma)
Melatonine, besides known as sleeping hormone, also has been found to be able to reduce cancer risks. One research shows that melatonine will protect your DNA from oxidation which triggers cancer.
Sadly, up until now humans are always exposed to light from day to night. Human biological clock which started million years ago since evolution, still finds it difficult to adjust to these changes. Since lamp was discovered, human activity movement has become longer. Working hours have been increasing, hence work shifts were made. Moreover, all secondary services to support workers’ needs were developed, and now there is 24 hours services. No wonder if all sleep medical experts stated that sleeping disorder started since the discovery of lamp.
The shifting of human activities cannot be avoided, nevertheless the biological clock that ticks internally cannot be changed as well. There is still demand for sleep, even though biological clock is confused with lights.Though we sleep, bright lights will still disrupt our sleep quality. Another artificial light which disturbs our sleep is monitor screen, TV, and gadgets. Therefore, sleeping with television on is also not recommended.
In order to obtain the healthy sleep and activity cycle, you should start to notice the light exposure. By noon, reduce the light exposure. Doesn’t mean it has to be completely dark. Say, when we do an activity in a room, you should turn off the light in another room which is vacant. With that, our brains will start to recognize noon time and the condition when light is reduced. Also limit your eyes exposure to lights produced by gadgets, at least 20 minutes before bed. Change your bedtime activities to reading or simply just doing mild skin treatment.
During bedtime, keep your bedroom dark. But still leaves a little light inside your room, or use small bedside lamp. The purpose of this light is to enable your eyes to see your way around if you happen to be awake in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom.
Limiting lights from noon is also environmental-friendly. We can save energy by reducing our light consumption.Make that a habit for everyday. You will be able to improve your sleep quality health quality, life quality, and also save the earth.
Turning off the lights for one hour during “Earth Hour” could be a good exercise to start your habit in reducing light consumption.