How to get the best night’s sleep

How to get the best night’s sleep

If you’re waking up feeling tired every morning, or struggling to get to sleep at night, or just getting nowhere near the six to eight hours rest you should be — and really, who is? — then research has identified the culprit, and it’s not stress, or diet or late-afternoon coffees.

In fact, the saying “don’t go into the light” took on new meaning this week, with major Australian research detailing just how bad for us artificial light can be when it comes to getting a proper night’s sleep. The problem, the researchers found, is melatonin, or rather the lack of it.

Think of melatonin as your sleep hormone, and one that has naturally controlled when we drift off to sleep and when we wake up since cavemen strolled the earth.

When the sun begins to set, your melatonin levels increase, telling your body that it’s time for bed. When the skies begin to brighten the following morning, those levels drop, this time telling you that it’s time to get up.

Sounds easy enough, right? But the problem, according to the latest research, is that the lights in our home — and especially those energy-saving LED bulbs — have become so bright that they are suppressing our melatonin levels, throwing our natural circadian rhythms right out of whack.

media_cameraArtificial light from mobile phones prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. Picture: iStock

The researchers at Monash University gave people wearable spectrophotometers (which sound very technical and expensive), and found that almost half of the homes tested had lights bright enough to reduce natural melatonin production by 50 per cent.…

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