Light and Its Effect On Bedtime

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We’ve all heard the saying, “time is precious” and as I have gotten older I have begun to realize this more and more. Recently I decided to invest more time exercising so I started waking up at 4 a.m. to run before my morning classes. The first few weeks after altering my sleep schedule were surprisingly rough until I realized that I tend to leave hallway lights on before bed. Once, I started turning off my hallway lights before bed, then I quickly fell to sleep. According to a recent New York Times, article children are also quite susceptible to the effects of light before bed.

In “To Help Children Sleep, Go Dark” author Perri Klaus explains the findings of a recent study conducted at University of Colorado Boulder, which recorded the effects of light on melatonin levels in children. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland found in the brain which handles a person’s sleep cycle. During the day melatonin levels drop, but at night melatonin levels slowly rise. What the study found is that children are especially susceptible to light which causes melatonin levels to drop, leading to wakefulness in children.

According to the National Sleep Foundation receiving a proper amount of sleep for children is important because of its connection with body tissue repair, growth, and energy revitalization. To assist in the sleep process “To Help children Sleep, Go Dark” notes that to increase the likelihood that parents should use dimmer lights before bed to facilitate proper melatonin levels. According to the Healthline other methods that may help in putting a child to sleep include having a regular routine, keeping a child cool before bed, and cutting off television 2 hours before bed.

Though waking up early may not be for everyone, we still need adequate sleep to get along with our day. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is especially important for kids, which is why it is best to minimize a child’s light stimulus before bed. Other methods that can assist a child in lulling a child to sleep include placing your child on a regular sleeping schedule, limiting television before bed, and keeping a child cool before bed.


New York Times

American Psychological Association


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