Weekly Wellness Minute: How to Use Light to Help You Sleep Better (Even After a Night Shift)
Date:Monday June 12, 2023
This week’s video is provided courtesy of First In Wellness, which provides programs to support the physical and psychological strength of first responders. Learn more at www.firstinwellness.com. Light is an important cue for your body’s sleep cycle. The light you are exposed to during the day helps your body figure out when it’s time to go to bed (and when it’s time to wake up). Exposure to sunlight upon waking starts a timer in your brain that tells your body to get sleepy in the evening.Here are some ways to use light to support getting a good night’s (or day’s) sleep.
If you have a typical daytime shift, within 1 hour of waking and within 2 hours after sunrise, go outside without sunglasses or glasses for 10-15 minutes (do not look directly at the sun, of course). This gives your eyes exposure to the full spectrum of sunlight, which helps reset your circadian rhythm for the day. It even works if it’s cloudy outside.
If you worked the night shift: Avoid sunlight. Wear amber glasses on your drive home. Avoid or dim lights and screens when you get home. Use a light box upon waking before your next shift and during first half of your shift, to help your body know it’s time to be alert.
Avoid bright lights and blue light for a few hours before going to sleep. Blue light is often emitted from screens like phones and TVs, and disrupts your brain’s ability to fall and stay asleep by depleting melatonin and signaling wakefulness. If you still want to watch TV before bed, try using amber tinted glasses to counteract the blue rays. What helps you sleep better? Let us know and look for more sleep and other wellness tips from Lighthouse.
Lighthouse Health & Wellness Weekly Wellness Minute video series is brought to you in part by FirstNet, Built by AT&T.FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.