Enough and especially restful sleep influences our health. When having too few sleep the next day you will feel tired, irritated often even listless.
It is necessary to care for a regular and balanced sleep-wake-cycle to prevent this. Here, both – light and darkness – are important for our body. The rhythm of light and darkness makes rest possible. Once this rhythm is disturbed, it might lead to serious problems and diseases like overweight, diabetes, depressions and cancer, for example. But, the sleep-wake-cycle is also influencing things like appetite, tiredness, body temperature and melatonin level. The so-called “sleeping-hormone” melatonin increases in darkness and decreases in the morning before waking up.
But, not only melatonin increases in darkness, leptin as well. Leptin is controlling our appetite and hunger. The more leptin, the less appetite. When suffering under a lack of sleep, the leptin level increases. By the way: when feeling tired, the opponent of leptin – ghrelin – increases. And, ghrelin increases our appetite. So, when having too few sleep you won’t just feel tired and sluggish, your appetite also will increase. The result: reduced activity and increased eating – consequently a weight gain is quite possible.
The influence of light
Not every light has the same influence on us humans. During the night, any source of light should be avoided: the light of street lamps that penetrate into the bedroom, the dim light that mistakenly cares for a “better sleep” and above all every source that emits a light with a high share of blue light: computers, laptops, TVs, mobiles … They all reduce the release of melatonin and therefore falling asleep and sleeping through become more difficult.
The situation is different during the day: here, natural daylight is absolutely important for the production of serotonin, the so-called “happy hormone”. Besides many important tasks like “preventing” depressions, transmission of brain-signals, etc. it also is a precursor of melatonin and hence has an influence on our sleep, too.
Conclusion: the interplay of light and darkness influences our sleep. To avoid sleep disturbances care for a proper sleep hygiene: a healthy sleep-wake-cycle, enough exercise in fresh air and daylight, proper diet. Do something for your sleep and hence for your health: care for complete darkness while sleeping and during daytime spend as much time as possible outdoors.
Image source: @fotolia
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German