Pineal gland, a tiny structure located at the base of the brain secrets melatonin, a powerful sleep-promoting agent. Based on our internal rhythm, this secretion starts in the evening approximately two hours prior to sleep onset and peaks 2 hours prior to wakefulness. This whole process leading to melatonin secretion is extremely sensitive to bright light. Light emanating from even a tiny phone screen can reduce this secretion and prevent you from falling asleep and getting enough deep sleep. Here, are a few tips to help you maximize your internal melatonin secretion.
- Choose dark drapes or blinds for the bedroom windows. You can also apply black film over glass windows to block out light completely.
- Turn the alarm clock away and keep the brightness to a minimum. My personal preference is not to keep the clock in the bedroom at all.
- Completely turn off all the electronic devices including stereo, satellite boxes, TV, laptop, iPad, and others. Again my preference is not to have these devices in the bedroom at all. If you use them in the evening, please use them outside the bedroom and with lowest possible brightness to minimize melatonin suppression.
- If your spouse needs nightlight please use one with the lowest brightness. I also suggest you try dark and comfortable eyeshades. These eyeshades come in handy when trying to sleep in those not-so-dark hotel rooms.
- Sport those cool looking designer sunglasses while driving home in the evening or during outdoor activities in the backyard. Your Pineal gland would love you for that.
Remember that melatonin is an ally, while light is an enemy of deep sleep.