Your body needs dark too - Deepstash
Your body needs dark too

Your body needs dark too

While we are starting to pay attention to how important sleep is, the need for dark is still mostly ignored.

Being exposed to regular patterns of light and dark regulates our circadian rhythm. Disruption of this rhythm may increase the risk of developing some health conditions including obesity, diabetes and breast cancer.

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  • Before electricity, people experienced bright, full-spectrum days of sunlight and dark nights. We slept in a different way than we do now.
  • Everything changed when electric lighting was invented in the latter part of the 19th century. Since then there has been an ever-increasing assault on dark.
  • Today, most of us get too little light during the day and too much at night for our circadian rhythm to function at its best.

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Some kinds of light make you more alert and more awake, and others have less of an effect:

  • Sunlight is strong in blue, short-wavelength light, although it includes all other colors as well. That’s important in the morning when we need to be alert and awake.
  • Your tablet, phone, computer or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) all emit this kind of blue light. So they are dangerous if used at night.
  • Other kinds of light, like dimmer long wavelength yellow and red light, have very little effect on this transition.

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On its own, the circadian rhythm takes almost 24 hours. Our bodies rely on the Sun to reset this cycle and keep it at 24 hours, the length of our days. Light and the dark are important signals for the cycle.

During the night, body temperature drops, metabolism slows, and the hormone melatonin rises dramatically. When the Sun comes up in the morning, melatonin has already started falling, and you wake up.

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During the dark, levels of the hormone leptin (hunger control), go up. This means we do not feel hungry while low levels make us hungry.

Ans research found that sleep disruption and turning on lights lowers leptin levels which makes people hungry in the middle of the night.

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The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

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Taking A Nap: Sleep Debt

When we constantly get less sleep (even 1 hour less) than we need each night, it is called sleep debt. We may pay for it in daytime drowsiness, trouble concentrating, moodiness, lower productivity and increased risk of falls and accidents.

Although a daytime nap cannot replace a good night’s sleep, it can help make up for some of the harm done as a result of sleep debt.

  • But avoid taking a nap after 3 pm as late naps may stop us getting to sleep at night.
  • And avoid napping for longer than 30 minutes as longer naps will make it harder to wake up and get back into the swing of things.

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Your Body is a Clock

Around 30 to 50 percent of people sleep between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Another 40 percents are either slightly morning people or slightly evening people.

To understand why some people are early birds while others are night owls, we have to take into consideration the body's circadian system.

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