As we enter 2018, people all across the globe are setting new year resolutions. If you are one of those people and your goal is on a healthier lifestyle, focusing on the light in your bedroom could be a key solution for you.
Almost 50% of adults still choose to sleep with some form of night light. This may seem relaxing but in fact, this may be the reason for restless nights and could be bad for your mental health. Research suggests that being exposed even to dim lighting while you sleep can curb the production of melatonin, the hormone produced in darkness which helps regulate mood.
Why is melatonin so important to getting a good night's rest and feeling happy?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland located in the brain which is recognised in preventing diseases, such as breast cancer, alzheimer's and sleep disorders like insomnia. It is produced mostly at night and decreases in production during the day when we are exposed to light - this is the reason why sleeping effectively at night is crucial to increasing melatonin levels.
Melatonin also plays a big part in the circadian rhythm, which is an internal rhythm that helps to regulate our sleep. Sleeping in darkness promotes quality sleep and in the morning when we are exposed to natural sunlight, melatonin production reduces signaling the body to wake up naturally and happily.
Dr Nerina's suggestions
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan said: "make sleep your priority this new year. Sleeping in the dark and promoting melatonin production is a good start and a step in the right direction.
"I suggest using the five Non-negotiables (5NNs) the first three NNs are particularly important because they very quickly fire up the circadian timer. Here they are:
NN#1: Eat breakfast every day within 30-45 minutes of rising
NN#2: Drink 2 litres (3½ pints) of water every day
NN#3: Reduce your caffeine intake or abolish completely
NN#4: Start an electronic sundown 1 hour before getting into bed
NN#5: Aim to get at least four pre-midnight sleeps per week