Cortisol is often referred to as a stress hormone or fight or flight hormone. This can give people the thought that it is a bad thing but this hormone is needed to function. It is a rise in cortisol in the morning that tells you to wake up. As the day goes on your cortisol levels should decrease and with that brings on a rise in melatonin. Melatonin is the key player in making you sleepy and getting a good nights rest. It often is used in supplement form to help people with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Artificial Light's Impact
Here are 5 things you can do to help your cause and get your circadian rhythm back in balance.
- Go for a walk early in the morning! Getting exposed to natural daylight early in the morning will give your body that shot of natural light that says: WAKE UP, it's daytime!!!
- Using blue light filters on your devices or in the form of glasses. Check out the images below to see how I recently turned on a filter on my iPhone.
- Having a pitch black place to sleep is key making sure your body knows it is time to sleep. Even light that trickles in through your curtains and alarm clock can influence the quality of your sleep.
- Turn down the lights at night! There is no need to sit in fully illuminated room at 10:00 p.m.
- Set a screen curfew. I know this one can be challenging since many people are used to sitting in front of a tv, laptop or tablet at night. The closer your curfew is to when the sun naturally goes down the better. If you can't set a curfew or are just stubborn refer to tip 2!