SLEEP HYGIENE: Get exposed to sunlight or bright light in the morning.
Updated: Feb 17
🌙 To sleep better at night, make sure that you see enough sunlight during the day. Exposure to bright light in the morning (ideally, sunlight) promotes good sleep at night.
Contrast between the bright light during the day and darkness at night helps our internal clock (circadian rhythms) function well and promotes good sleep. One way to create the contrast is to reduce light intensity in the evening. The other way is to increase exposure to bright light in the morning.
Exposure to sunlight is not only important to regulating sleep-wake cycle, it is also crucial for overall well-being and health. Sunlight affects our body in a whole lot of different ways; the topic of sunlight and health is extremely complex.
One way sunlight is thought to make us feel and sleep better is by increasing levels of serotonin. Serotonin has a variety of functions in the body and brain, from controlling digestion to stabilizing mood and sleep.
SSRIs INSTEAD OF SUNLIGHT?
At this point you may wonder whether anti-depressants designed to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs) might compensate for low levels of light in winter and help with winter blues. Here is what you need to know about SSRIs.
❗️ Even though mood is related to low levels of serotonin, there is no proof that medically altering levels of serotonin will improve mood.
❗️ The exact mechanism of action of SSRIs is unknown. ❗️ The efficacy of SSRIs in mood disorders other than severe depression and anxiety has been questioned. ❗️ SSRIs, like any drugs, have considerable side effects.
✔ Get out of the house in the morning whenever possible, especially in winter. ✔ Spend more time outdoors during the day. ✔ If you can choose, place your office desk near a window. ✔ Special lamps emitting very bright light can help make up for lack of sun during gloomy winter days.