In this installment, I discuss some adjustments you can make to your environment to help signal your brain and body to get ready for sleep. Read a little more on this topic in my Sleep Better Mentor Facebook group. To read Part 1, click here.
First, repurpose the TV in your bedroom. You just need to do it. It doesn’t belong in your sleep and love sanctuary. We got rid of ours several years ago and haven’t missed it at all.
Turn off the TV 30-60 minutes before you want to be asleep (2 hours for kids). Turn off computers/tablets/phones 60 minutes before bed. The blue light interferes with our body’s ability to secrete melatonin and causes disruption in our circadian rhythm which can cause issues extending into the following morning. This is bad stuff, y’all! Harvard Health, Scientific American, and numerous other sources are writing about the long and short term effects of blue light wavelengths and it has gotten my attention.
If you must use tech before bed there are some things you can do to help your body and brain. One option is to get some blue blocking glasses- they even make stylish ones and kid-sized versions so no excuses! Second option is using the Night Shift function on your iOS device. This tones down the blue light and looks like a warm yellow screen instead. You can manually choose when it activates or set it from sunset to sunrise. A computer application called f.lux at justgetflux.com will adjust your computer screen to mimic outside lighting and therefore reduce blue light when the sun sets. Excellent choice for teens and college students or those who work into the night.
Go back to reading an old fashioned book in bed before turning out the light instead of the kindle or nook. No need to toss the tech, just stop using it at night.
Red, orange, and amber lighting have longer wavelengths and are more soothing and do not disrupt our brain or melatonin secretion like blue light does. Have you ever noticed that you or your child go to sleep faster and easier after staring into a bonfire or wood burning fireplace?
There are SO MANY options for amber or red bulbs on Amazon. We like to go a little more crunchy and use Himalayan salt lamps as our nightlight in our daughter’s room as it provides a nice warm orange glow to the room.
Find a way to make your room as dark as possible while you sleep. Our digital alarm clocks, standby lights on electronics, porch lights, and street lights can all create more light than you realize. Getting it really dark helps you to reset your circadian rhythm and get better sleep quality.
In the next installment we’ll discuss the importance of stress reduction and ideas for reducing stress before bed.