Good morning everyone! 🙂
Today I wanted to write about a topic that has drawn my attention of late.
I’ve always been interested in health and well-being. And I’ve always known that sleeping in complete darkness is of benefit to the body … but it was only recently that I took steps to design my bedroom to accommodate this.
I installed Soundproof Curtains that happened to be blackout curtains with thermal properties as well. I found that our bedrooms were now transformed into the cocoon that the company promised in it’s brochure. ( MOONDREAM )
Utter darkness is what I sink into every night. And there is nothing quite like plunging into velvet black nights. It has truly changed the quality of my sleep. A completely dark room is no longer a luxury for, but has become an absolute necessity.
After reaping the benefits of sleeping in true darkness, I was compelled to research it more deeply.
I was not surprised to discover that various scientific studies confirm that sleeping in darkness does wonders for our health.
The body has an internal clock or rhythm (known as the circadian clock) that it abides by. And this rhythm is maintained by various factors including external cues called Zeitgebers.
The circadian clock checks its accuracy each day using these external Zeitgebers, principally the light-dark cycle.
It’s no surprise that an accurate internal circadian clock results in an optimal body and mind.
Consider our natural environment. Prior to the advent of civilization, nightfall would have the land and it’s people shrouded in near darkness (save for the minimal glow of the moon).
The rich darkness of the night signals the body to naturally synchronize itself to the Earth’s 24 hour cycle. It’s like pressing a ‘reset’ button on a daily basis. In fact the origins of the word “circadian’ derive from the Latin words meaning “about a day.’
The benefits that come from a well-set circadian rhythm are numerous!
Firstly, sleeping in darkness helps produce the naturally occurring hormone, melatonin in our body. It’s powerful antioxidant hormone produced by the pineal gland that delivers a good quality sleep.
Melatonin NEEDS darkness. Without a blanket of darkness, your body won’t produce the levels of melatonin it requires. The result is a sense of restlessness or sleepless nights.
It is melatonin that is responsible for causing drowsiness and lowering body temperature as well as cortisol.
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland, and is used to form blood sugar and enable anti-stress and anti-inflammatory functions in the body. While it is useful during the day when we are alert and active, it’s not ideal at night.
In order to enjoy the restorative effects of deep rest, these cortisol levels must drop during the night. But melatonin and cortisol are almost entirely dependant on the circadian clock.
Then there is growth hormone, that is essential to the repair and restoration processes of the body. Growth hormone is secreted particularly during deep non-REM sleep.
Other hormones such as testosterone are also released in deep sleep.
Let me wrap this up in a nutshell –
Sleeping in a dark room at night properly resets circadian rhythms.
A well-set circadian rhythm delivers deep sleep.
This deep sleep or state of ‘rest’ results in the body functioning at it’s very best.
This means that the body begins producing the valuable hormones and chemicals that it needs.
Here is an extract from an article on the website HOWSLEEPWORKS. The article is titled ‘Circadian rhythms – How sleep works.”
“The light-dark cycle resynchronizes the body’s biological rhythms, and prevents small timing errors from accumulating. Without this important check, the circadian system can become seriously unbalanced. For example, the much dimmer illumination of artificial lights is not usually sufficient to trigger this reset of the circadian clock, which is why night shift workers never really fully adapt to their unnatural sleep. It has been shown that simply increasing day-time lighting intensity in workplaces and care homes for the elderly can significantly improve their sleep regimes, reduce cognitive decline and improve mood disorders.”
I would conclude by surmising that designing a sanctuary that has minimal stimuli will transform the quality of your life.
Sleeping in darkness is one simple habit that releases a great impact. It affects one’s health, one’s ability to focus and even the individual’s emotional state.
Ahava Sarah Fischer