New York is famously dubbed “the city that never sleeps.” But believe it or not, this well-known nickname is well on its way to becoming a research-proven fact.
Because the truth is my fellow New Yorkers likely aren’t getting the quality sleep they could be. And neither are the residents of any other big city, for that matter. Not unless they’re taking a few key precautions to avoid the effects of all those bright lights.
That’s the conclusion of a new study, presented earlier this year at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers interviewed nearly 16,000 people over the course of eight years to collect data on sleep habits and quality. They then mapped this data according to the amount of nighttime light exposure each interviewee receives, according to the Defense Meteorlogical Satellite Program.
It probably won’t surprise you at all that people living in cities that boast half a million residents or more were subject to three to six times the nighttime light exposure than country-dwellers. And given the critical role that melatonin — a hormone released by your pineal gland in response to darkness — plays in sleep cycle regulation, it certainly didn’t surprise me that this intense light exposure came with serious consequences. For one thing, city-dwellers were six percent more likely to get less than six hours of sleep every night. (And to be dissatisfied with their nightly sleep, as you might expect.) They also slept less on average per night, were more likely to experience night-waking, and reported more fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and impaired functioning.
Obviously, this is a serious problem. But luckily, it’s also a fairly simple one to remedy: Invest in a sleep mask or blackout shades for your bedroom. And be sure that there aren’t any inside light sources that could be interfering with melatonin release, too.
And remember, that includes more than just bedside lamps. In fact, technology in your bedroom is one of melatonin’s worst enemies.
Televisions, computers, smart phones, tablets, e-readers… they all need to go. (At the very least, you should be dimming the screens before bed.) While you’re at it, dim or switch off your alarm clock light, too — especially if it’s blue light, which is more disruptive than yellow or red.
If all else fails — and especially if you’re stuck sleeping during the day due to shift work — don’t hesitate to supplement with melatonin. It’s one of the ingredients in my new DreamLogic formula, along with the deep-sleeppromoting asparagus extract ETAS, which I told you about in the June issue. To learn more about DreamLogic or to order a supply, click here or call 1-877-899-9219 and ask for order code EOV1S8AA.