It is known that it is better to fall asleep in complete darkness - this promotes the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Blackout curtains have become a must-have for residents of megacities, and sleep masks have become a favorite travel accessory. But recent research by scientists suggests that the process of falling asleep can be accelerated in the opposite way - with the help of light.
Gosha Semenov, CEO of Blue Sleep, a company that produces innovative sleep products
What is the problem
Many of us make a big mistake before going to bed - using a mobile phone, watching a TV series, or sitting at a computer. All this makes the process of falling asleep difficult for three reasons. Firstly, when you work lying in bed, new neural connections are established in the brain and you begin to unconsciously perceive the bedroom not as a rest area, but as a work area. Secondly, any mental activity, even scrolling through the Instagram feed, not to mention work tasks, excites the nervous system. But there is also a third, lesser known, but most important reason. The screens of phones, laptops and TVs, as well as fluorescent lamps, emit a so-called blue glow.
Shades of blue and other cool colors can reduce the sleep hormone melatonin - this tricks our brains  into thinking it's daytime and affects circadian rhythms . This affects both quantity and quality of sleep.
How to stimulate melatonin production
It is difficult to restore melatonin levels - turning off the phone and lying in the dark for half an hour is hardly enough. In order for the level of the sleep hormone to be normal, it is necessary to increase physical activity during the day and regularly visit the sun.
Sleep hormone production can also be stimulated with warm colors. Research shows that 30 minutes of red light therapy for 14 days improves melatonin production and helps improve sleep quality . It is unlikely that it will be possible to carry out such therapy at home, but the simplified version is not so difficult to implement. For example, smart bulbs can turn on different colors of light, including red. You can also put a night light in the bedroom with a warm shade of light, while it is important that the light is dim.
Also, the increased production of melatonin can be influenced by the light of your favorite color. For example, both in the dark and with the white light turned on, the participants of the experiment fell asleep in an average of 21 minutes, in the light of an unpleasant color - in 17 minutes, and in the light of their favorite color - in 12. Green and purple colors can have a bad effect on sleep - their the action is not yet well understood, so it is best to avoid them.
Often on forums to restore sleep and fall asleep faster, it is advised to use melatonin. Judging by scientific publications, an overdose of melatonin in the usual sense does not happen, but after taking it, drowsiness is often observed during the next day or a slight increase in temperature. Melatonin has practically no effect on the quality and depth of sleep, so sitting up late in the phone and then taking a pill in the hope of waking up vigorous in the morning will not work. And yet, self-medication is not the best idea, so it is better to consult a doctor before taking it.
Color to color
The same lighting and bedroom colors have different effects on the body. If we talk about how the color of your bedroom walls affects sleep , then blue can be put in the first place - it perfectly calms. At the same time, walls of a red or bright neon shade have an exciting effect on the nervous system.
It can be helpful to furnish your bedroom with green items - this color has a calming effect. And yellow is unlikely to help you fall asleep better, but it will help you wake up easier.
Whichever color of the walls you choose, remember one more rule - avoid glossy coatings that reflect light.
How to sleep with light
- Avoid using your phone, computer, or TV at least an hour before bed, or better yet, avoid blue light sources after sunset. But few can afford to give up the phone and not be in touch after 3 pm (in winter in many regions of Russia it starts to get dark around this time). If necessary, you can purchase glasses that block the blue color, or install a special application on your phone. But the habit of using the latter is unlikely to take root in many - the colors in the smartphone are unusually distorted.
- Turn off the light an hour or two before bedtime. Candles can be lit during this time - a great source of warm light, and watching the fire is soothing.
- Refuse fluorescent lamps and replace them with bulbs of warmer shades.
- Spend as much time outside as possible, especially on clear sunny days. This stimulates the production of melatonin.
# pro-science: the influence of the moon on sleep duration was confirmed.