Here’s how winter affects our sleep

Sleep is essential for good health. Modern science has demonstrated in countless ways that sleep quality is directly related to both physical and mental health. When something interferes with sleep, affecting the quality or quantity of sleep, it can potentially also affect your physical health, cognitive function and mental well-being.

Surprisingly, winter can fall into that sleep-disrupting category. Winter mainly affects sleep through its influence on circadian rhythms and also through its influence on daily habits and behaviors.

 

How light plays a role in influencing sleep during winter

 

One of the main ways winter affects sleep has to do with the impact the season can have on circadian rhythms. One of the regulatory tasks performed by the circadian rhythm is the timing of the sleep-wake cycle. The mechanisms involved in that regulatory process are complex and include the timing of production and release of hormones such as melatonin. This hormone is important for the sleep-wake cycle because higher nighttime levels promote sleep.

The winter months bring two important changes in light: fewer hours of daylight and, due to the Earth’s position on its axis during this season, less intense light during the day.

Those slight changes in themselves can be disturbing, especially for those who are more sensitive to such changes, such as those dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, our light-related reactions can exacerbate the problem. Instead of having the ability to adapt gradually and naturally to changing light levels, many people are affected by the transition from daylight saving time to standard time. When time goes back an hour, the clock abruptly makes it dark earlier. In addition, shorter days typically mean more exposure to artificial light during evening hours. Exposure to artificial light in the evening is disruptive to both the circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle.

These shifts in light can disrupt the timing of melatonin production, which in turn affects when we feel sleepy. Going to work or school when it is dark and going outside when it is almost dark can drastically reduce exposure to natural light. This can have a negative effect on the health of the circadian rhythm, and therefore on the timing and quality of sleep.

 

Improve your sleep-wake rhythm

 

Making an improvement in your sleep-wake rhythm is easier than you may think. As can be read above, everything falls and stands with light. Propeaq can help you improve your sleep-wake rhythm.

Door de toepassing van 30 minuten blauw licht in de ochtend wordt jouw lichaam echt wakker en begin je energiek aan de dag. That’s because the blue light simulates a sunrise that we often miss in the dark winter months. This blue light suppresses the production of the nighttime hormone melatonin, and stimulates the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

When you go to sleep, this process works in the opposite direction.

Before bedtime, blocking this blue is important to suppress the production of the stress hormone cortisol, and support the production of the nighttime hormone melatonin.

Summary: Blue light in the morning wakes you up, and blocking this blue light in the evening makes you sleepy. Actually quite logical right?

 

Source : www.chronobiology.com

 

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