Is sleeping in the pitch black the key to a good night’s sleep?
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
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
"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