Five  Secret Tips to Capture Daylight, Re-Set Your Master Clock and Put Insomnia to Rest

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Five  Secret Tips to Capture Daylight, Re-Set Your Master Clock and Put Insomnia to Rest

In my experience as a Sleep Science Coach, I’ve noticed that most people struggling with insomnia focus their attention on what they can do differently at night to try to resolve their sleeping challenges. Now, I’m not saying that’s wrong. On the contrary, there are many things you can do at night which will help you to re-gain your well-earned ZZZ’s. So what else is there?

What I suggest strongly is, if you haven’t already, please look at the broader picture of what it takes to re-gain sound sleep. And, strange as it may seem, this means looking at what you can do not only at night, but first thing in the morning as well. Yep, there are very simple and natural tactics you can use to re-set your 24-hour master clock and, thus, create a daily, day-time path towards optimal, nocturnal sleep.

‘So, what’s the broader picture?’, you asked. ‘Sunlight,’ I answer. Let me explain. When light enters your eyes first thing in the morning, it lets your brain know that a new day has begun. And, when your brain gets that a new day has started, a lot of good things can happen. The more morning daylight you get, the more awake and energized you’ll feel. In fact, sunlight tells your brain it’s day, while darkness sends messages that it’s night. When the brain knows nighttime is approaching, melatonin, a sleep hormone, is released. And, usually within two hours of melatonin release, sleepiness sets in. So long story short, at night you need to block out light, especially blue-light, while during the day you need to take in sunlight.

The chart below indicates the variations in lux values for a variety of light sources. Please note, the massive lux difference between direct sunlight, 32k-130k, (depending upon the time of year and global axis), and office/home lighting, 320-500! In short, the artificial light you’re chronically exposed to at home or in the office is neither here nor there. It pales compared to real sunlight and it’s too bright at night for your brain to relax and release sleep hormone reliably.)

Illuminance (lux) Light Source

32,000-130,000 Direct Sunlight

10,000-25,000                   Daylight (indirect sun)

10,000                              Sun Lamp

320-500                            Office Lighting

0.27                                  Full Moon

What follows are my five secret tips to recapture light, re-set your master clock and finally put insomnia to rest. The very first light exposure of the day should be for approximately twenty-to- thirty minutes. Subsequent daylight immersions can last between five to thirty minutes, or more. (Please take care not to overexpose yourself and cause a sunburn.)

1)     Wake up and open your windows, go for a walk outside, drive in your car with the windows down and avoid wearing sunglasses first thing.

2)     Have a cup of coffee outside, walk to work or get off the subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way.

3)     Take a break outside mid-morning for five or ten minutes.

4)     Go out for lunch and eat outside if weather permitting.

5)     Take mid and late afternoon breaks and go outside again.

One final note, I know for some going out first thing in the morning is not always easy. What I suggest is using a sunlamp. While it’s certainly not as bright and influential as a bright sunny morning in mid-summer, it’s at least as effective as daylight on an overcast day. I use Nature Bright SunTouch. If you opt to use a sunlamp, sit within 12-16” of it and make sure you face the light, (though avoid looking directly into it.)

 

If you have any questions, please write and let me know.

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Rafael de ArceComment