SLEEP HYGIENE: Make it darker way before bedtime
(relevant for both adults and children)
🌙 Limit exposure to bright light last couple hours before bedtime. What is "bright" depends on the season and on where you live. It is relative to the typical light intensity you experience during the day.
Light plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. In response to it getting darker, our body starts producing melatonin, the hormone that prepares us for sleep. On the contrary, bright light blocks melatonin, making us feel more awake. This is why you want to block as much light from outside as possible for the hours when you sleep. But if you want to make falling asleep easier, doing just that is not enough.
Melatonin is not "turned on" as soon as the lights are turned off. It is released gradually, and some time will pass until it reaches levels that promote sleepiness. This is why it is important to create a darker environment in the hours preceding bedtime.
"Darker" does not refer to specific light intensity. Rather, the body reacts to the contrast between daytime and evening. If it is a bright summer day and you are outside, then simply being inside your room with closed curtains will create a contrast. But if it is a gloomy winter and you never go outside, the fluorescent lights you use during the day will be your "bright" light, which you will need to dim in the evening.
SUGGESTIONS: ✔ Install blackouts and light dimmers in your bedroom. ✔ If you live in the north, avoid exposure to sunlight in the evening hours. ✔ Dim the lights in the house in the hours preceding bedtime. ✔ Use warm ambient light in the evening (red and orange tones).