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Light Pollution and Sleep

By January 31, 2011 Uncategorized

The cover story of the National Geographic magazine several months ago was cause for alarm. Not only does cit night light block our view from the stars and cause havoc with migrating birds, it affects humans as well. City lights that illuminate the night skies for miles on end are thought to be related to disrupting our circadian rhythms and the growing epidemic of insomnia across the country. Perhaps equally at fault is the amount of time spent in front of computer screens (be it laptops or smart phones). From the science of sleep we learn that as light (natural light, that is) diminishes and ambient temperatures drop, the sleep hormone, melatonin, increases in production and secretion producing drowsiness for a good night’s sleep. When light (and temperature) don’t decrease, this will affect the role of melatonin, and hence our quality of sleep. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a pea sized part of the brain, located in the center of the head. For eons, the pineal gland (often called the third eye) has been associated with sleep. Although as of yet, no formal research has been done, there is speculation that abundant computer screen time in the night hours also throws off the delicate balance needed for the pineal gland to do it job properly.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
If you, like so many others have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, consider making your bedroom as dark as possible. Also consider not using your computer 1-2 hours before bedtime (same with the cell phone). These and other factors (such as removing the TV from the bedroom, not using your smart phone to bed, etc.), contribute to a good night’s sleep are collectively known as sleep hygiene, something we can all improve upon.

• Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Here are some links of interest including the article from the National Geographic magazine:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

http://blog.wellnesstips.ca/blog/?p=27

• Quote for the Day:
“Life is too short to sleep on low thread-count sheets.” ~Leah Stussy

Photo of the Day:
While I was looking for images for this bog entry (a picture I took of the Milkyway was runner up) this photo off the web seemed to really drive home the point of night sky brightness.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net.

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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