Before the regular use of artificial lighting, humans spent their evenings in a slow transition to nighttime darkness. With the regular use of cell phones, computers, tablets, and TVs, it is easy to see the correlation between nighttime light stimulation and insomnia for adults and children alike. Unnatural light exposure, specifically blue light exposure, throws off our body’s biological clock or circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythms run on average for a length of 24.25 hours. For those of us who stay up late, our circadian rhythms begin to be stretched, and those who wake up before the body is fully rested will tend to have shorter circadian cycles. Both of which come with a plethora of negative side-effects. If you fall into one of these categories, rest assured knowing that you are NOT ALONE. As many as 35-50% of adults are right there with you, right now.
In 1981 Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School was able to show that proper light exposure is an essential part of aligning the circadian rhythms with the environment; thereby achieving more restful and regular sleep.
But how can we do this?
- Align with nature: be outside as often as possible during the day.
- Red light is less likely to suppress melatonin and mess with the circadian rhythm. Consider changing a few of your lights to red light spectrum bulbs for the evening hours.
- Turn off all the digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed.
- If you must be exposed to light at night, say for example your work night shift, dim your screens as much as possible and consider purchasing a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Sleep is an essential part of your well being. Some studies suggest a link between improper sleeping habits to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Insomnia is a complex issue involving cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and physiological factors. There is no one size fits all cure. BUT the good news is Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) offers a vast array of unique diagnostic tools to evaluate and treat the main cause(s) for your sleeplessness. TCM has been proven by multiple studies to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Treatments include acupuncture, at-home acupressure routines, breathing exercises, lifestyle changes, environmental adaptations, herbal prescriptions, and specific nutrition recommendations. Don’t wait. Schedule your TCM evaluation and start feeling better today!