Learn more about the science of light and sleep, and how to use it to your advantage.
This article is a part of my series on sleep hacks, coming out over the next few months.
When I was in high school, my parents took us on a long-planned trip to Alaska in the summer. Being so far north, the sun wouldn’t set until 11 pm. Much to my parents’ consternation, my younger brothers and I wanted to stay up. I could see a clock and I knew it was late, but I was wired. If you’ve ever been unable to sleep at 11 pm (whether or not you’re in Alaska), you likely know the feeling. Here’s how to remedy it.
Our bodies have internal biological clocks called the circadian rhythm (CR). For those Latin buffs, “circadian” translates into “around a day,” as the CR cycles on a 24-hour period. It’s a primary driver of when you feel ready to wake-up, the periods you have energy throughout the day (hello, 2 pm slump) and when you fall asleep. Your CR is extremely sensitive to factors in our environment called “zeitgebers” (come on, that’s an awesome word, right?). The most influential zeitgeber? Light.