At some point in your life, you probably have wondered why we sleep at night in the dark. Why were we raised by our parents to sleep at night? Why do people sleep in darkness, and what would happen if we contradict this innate “ideal” habit?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and discuss the importance of getting a restful sleep at night with minimal exposure to light.
How Sleeping in Darkness Helps
1. Melatonin Provides Advantages to Our Health
Melatonin is a hormone produced by our brain’s pineal gland and this happens at night in the dark, when we have a normal regulated sleep-wake cycle. In effect, melatonin protects us against brain damage hence improving our memory. As well, it lowers blood pressure and body temperature. Studies from the Harvard University stated that exposure to room or artificial light before bedtime shortens the duration of our body to be capable of producing melatonin by about 90 minutes, quelling the hormone’s signals by more than 50 percent, as compared to dim light exposure or total darkness.
2. Reduces Levels of Depression
According to the research of the Ohio State University in 2011, constant lighting will make us prone to having depressive symptoms. Their experiment was done involving mice in a lab. 12 rodents were placed in a room for 16 hours with light and 8 hours without, while the other 12 rodents were caged into a lighted area the entire 24 hours. The series of tests were conducted in three weeks, with the mice consuming anti-depressive and anti-anxiety drugs to also measure their depression and anxiety levels. The results were unanimous: the group of mice which were exposed to more hours of light suffered more from depressive-like symptoms than those in the other group.
3. Reduces risks of breast cancer for women
Back in 2005, cancer researchers had provided an interesting conclusion on why people working at night, particularly females, have more risk to be inflicted with breast cancer. They had found out that this is because melatonin can significantly suppress the growth and proliferation of breast tumors and this hormone can be acquired when we sleep for several hours in nighttime darkness. In contrast, melatonin levels drop thus set the stage for the proliferation of breast cancer cells when we sleep with lights on.
This is not to say that light is bad and dark is good. The point is that not getting enough darkness can pose detriments to our health. As mentioned above, brilliant studies and research results had highlighted the importance of getting a restful sleep at night with minimal exposure to light. By keeping to this routine, we are helping ourselves in promoting a healthy circadian cycle needed to produce an optimal amount of melatonin and other beneficial hormones including growth hormones, testosterone, and erythropoietin.
Then again, attaining high blood levels of melatonin is not the only factor considered to induce our overall health status and risk for diseases and sicknesses. To improve both our physical and mental well-being, we should also maintain a good lifestyle by having a balanced and clean diet, enough sleep and rest, good peace of mind, regular exercise, and an unpolluted environment.
Author Bio: Treisha is a portrait of a modern-day Party Girl. Nights of dancing and socializing are not uncommon in Treisha’s life, but she claims to know and respect her limits. When responsibilities and opportunities align themselves, she knows how to prioritize them and keep them in order. Treisha works part-time as a blog manager and writer for Uratex Blog.