June 23, 2023 in How We Think

Sleep Better and Stress Less by Getting Out in the Morning Sunlight

Sunlight for Better Sleep

Sunlight for Better Sleep

Shared by Dr. Bryan Stephens

Sunlight for Better Sleep

We all need sleep.  I don’t think I’m surprising anybody with that comment.  And yet, with how important sleep is, there are times when it can be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.  This begins to affect health in many ways.  Sleep is important for more than just our awareness, energy, and wakefulness during the day.  It is also crucial for our immune system, stress relief, and hormone regulation.  One of the hormones that is affected is insulin.  A lack of sleep increases the body’s resistance to insulin which is required to help move glucose from the blood into the cells.  This resistance to insulin is what causes a higher level of blood glucose which is what leads to type 2 diabetes.  There are other factors involved that can increase insulin resistance (chronic inflammation from poor diet, lack of exercise, and chronic stress) but good sleep can help.

So, what are some ways that you can get better sleep through the night?

Getting exposure to bright light in the morning early after waking up helps reset the circadian rhythm.  By doing this, it assists with falling asleep earlier and being able to stay asleep through the night.  A study on a group of elderly patients found that exposure to just 30 minutes of sunlight in the morning improved many aspects of sleep including “sleep duration, regular sleep activity, and daytime sleep dysfunction as well as average sleep quality scores.”  That was without changing other variables concerning activity and nutrition.  And if you are like me and wake up before the sun rises, turn the lights on bright and try to get out in the sunlight when it does come up.

Try this tomorrow if you are having sleep difficulties and add it into your daily routine of exercise and diet.  You may find a big help to your quality of sleep.

 

Reference

Düzgün, Gönül, and Asiye Durmaz Akyol. “Effect of natural sunlight on sleep problems and sleep quality of the elderly staying in the nursing home.” Holistic nursing practice 31.5 (2017): 295-302.

 

Our Message

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