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The Sunlight and Sleep Connection

Updated on April 11, 2016

It is a fact that 60% of the population in the US at least has trouble sleeping every single night, and will continue to do so for years. Insomnia has become the norm - or you might say - a habit for many people with no relief in sight.

Chronic insomnia usually begins with some kind of trigger such as a new baby, a big event, work related issues or worry about finances.

If the stress hangs around long enough, a pattern develops and sleeplessness will continue even after the original problem no longer exists. It certainly doesn't help that today's lifestyle in general is not very sleep friendly.

If this sounds like your own situation, then overcoming insomnia is likely to require changes to your daily routine. This doesn't include taking sleeping pills, drinking Valerian tea or putting lavender under your pillow. These types of "remedies" may help temporarily, but will do nothing to change your sleep behavior.

How Much Sunlight Do You Get Everyday?

One of the first things that finally made a difference in overcoming my own insomnia habit was making the effort to get more sunlighton a daily basis. This may sound too simple to be true, but believe it or not sunlight is one of the keys to better sleep.

Here's how it works...

Our bodies run on a sleep / wake cycle, or better known as the circadian rhythm. We have hormones and other chemicals in our brains that turn switches on and off as we progress through the day.As you probably already know, Melatonin is one of the hormones responsible for sleep.

However, perhaps you don't know that the trigger for Melatonin production at night is exposure to sunlight during the day. We need a certain amount of sunlight hitting our eyes (without sunglasses) to make this happen naturally. If we don't get the right kind of light in the right amounts, it can cause on-going insomnia as well as depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

SAD Lamps - Alternative to Sunlight

Now, I'm not suggesting that simply getting more sunlight is guaranteed to take care of your insomnia problem, but it's a step in the right direction. It definitely made a difference for me in helping me to feel sleepy enough to actually fall asleep at a decent hour. I didn't stay asleep, but it was a start.

I'm sure you've heard of SAD lamps. Lots of people have them in their offices if they're not able to get outside much - especially during the dark winter months. I have never personally used one since I live in a sunny climate, but I've heard from others that they are quite effective in keeping mood levels from dropping.


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