Experts weigh in on how to get the perfect night's rest
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Nothing is more frustrating than ending a long day, and not being able to fall asleep. During the COVID-19 crisis, many people’s schedules have been mixed up and routines were lost. This combined with the lack of sunlight in winter can result in poor sleeping. But what does sunlight actually have to do with it? Well according to Dr. Liepert of Center for Sleep and Nasal Sinuses Disorders, everything.
Sunlight is what locks us into a sleep cycle. It is the source of the internal clock that regulates melatonin which is the hormone released to make you sleepy at night. There are some solutions if you are struggling to sleep. Liepert explains there are melatonin supplements, and light therapy lamps that when combined together can help you get on a cycle.
He also says, while it sounds simple, sticking to a routine can be what fixes the problem.
“Try to have whatever your schedule is regular. Try not to have heavy meals before sleep. Insulin is stimulatory, so if you have a big carbohydrate meal, it is harder to fall asleep. So light protein meals, exercise in the afternoon, and do not exercise right before bed,” says Dr. Liepert. “So that’s helpful, a regular schedule and have the sleeping environment cool. Having the environment dim, so you do not have light suppressing your natural melatonin is also helpful.”
Another option is using light therapy lamps. The lamp, with at least 10,000 lux, can provide a sunlight stimulant to the body. These lamps paired with Melatonin supplements can regulate someone’s sleep. However, Dr. Liepert explains it is crucial to speak with a health professional before beginning either option.
“So sunlight is what trains us or locks us in to that proper cycle, so our body makes melatonin, particularly at night and also a little in the afternoon as well and our body temperature goes down from evening to morning until just before we wake up so our body heats up just before we wake up and this is all controlled by light,” says Dr. Liepert.
For further information about the Center for Sleep and Nasal Sinuses Disorders and contact information, visit here.