It’s no secret that most of us are sleep deprived and it certainly comes with consequences. We are depressed more frequently, less productive overall & are not motivated to set goals & reach out to attain them. True, psychological factors may also exist in our personal lives that hold us back. However, when we are sleep deprived, our cognitive abilities are impaired & compromised. We struggle to comprehend, focus, set goals & motivate ourselves.
Sleep deprivation also makes it harder to be rational & react appropriately to our emotions. Beyond that, we may feel melancholy or downright depressed because we are not sleeping soundly. We know that our brain & body repairs & renews itself when we sleep, but for most of us our knowledge on the subject stops there. When we do just a little research on the subject we find some very interesting facts. I’m amazed at what I have found. My research has moved me to examine & improve my daily routine so that I get better sleep at night.
The Sunlight – Melatonin Connection
Melatonin is made in the pineal gland. We need melatonin at night to sleep but very little during the day time hours. During the day our eyes take in light. This light signals that the pineal gland does not need to make melatonin. If we do not take in plenty of light in the daytime our bodies will produce more melatonin which will make us slow & groggy during the day. If that’s not bad enough, now, the pineal gland may not produce enough melatonin at night in order to fall asleep & sleep through the night. From that we understand that we need to expose ourselves to bright light throughout the day so that our body produces enough meltonin at night to fall asleep & stay asleep.
How We Can Improve Our Sleep Cycle
- Turn the lights down low in the evening. This will help your body to start producing melatonon & become relaxed making it easier for you to fall asleep naturally.
- Establish a relaxing nightly routine before bed. We have busy lives. The brain is active for large parts of the day. Just like a computer, it also needs to be “defragmented”. Think about a few simple things that relax you & do them every night 30 minutes before bed time.
- Set a time to go to sleep & a time to awake. Our brain needs reliability for certain basic functions. Stick with a routine!
- Stop the use of all electronics at least an hour before bed. Whether it be TV, social media, online news articles etc these all stimulate the brain making it hard to relax & fall asleep. Get in the habit of doing something – truly relaxing – before bed & ditch the electronics!