Are you afraid of the dark? It seems there’s a bigger reason not to keep the bedside lamps switched on while you sleep aside from being labeled a big scaredy cat. Apparently, some studies show that sleeping in TOTAL darkness not only promotes deeper and better sleep but in a way, slows down aging and prevents weight gain, too.
Thanks to the Big M
No, not money– we’re talking about Melatonin here, ladies. It’s that naturally-occurring hormone and anti-oxidant in our body that promotes cell health, self-regeneration and repair. That rings a big “ANTI-AGING” bell to me! It’s also responsible for maintaining the natural rhythm of our “body clock”. But the most interesting part is, Melatonin is only produced in the dark.
The power of Darkness
It seems that our bodies are more sensitive to light–and the lack of it– than we thought. Although the pineal gland, the pea-sized gland which produces melatonin, is activated at a specific time (usually around 9 PM), melatonin is only produced in the dark. Thus, the cheesy nickname, “Dracula of Hormones”. So even simply leaving the TV on or your cellphone lighting up on your bedside table whenever you receive a text or a call while you’re asleep can disrupt melatonin production (source).
Sleeping with lights on can mess up your eating habits
Because healthy melatonin levels keep our body clocks in check, our eating and resting habits during the day are regularized, too. But when this body clock is disturbed, as in the case of having low levels of melatonin in the blood, we tend to take irregular meals that mess up our metabolism rate.
“A study reveals that ‘Mice exposed to light at night gained 50 percent more weight than mice whose nights were truly dark, the study found, even though the two groups ate equal amounts of food and got the same amount of exercise.’ (source)”
Aside from the beauty benefits mentioned above, sleeping in the dark seems to also reduce the risks of developing breast cancer for women and of suffering from depression.
But what if you’re really afraid of the dark?
Personally, I don’t have problems sleeping in total darkness. In fact, I’m so sensitive to light that even the tiny green power light of the air-conditioner sometimes bothers me in my sleep! But I know not everyone is as much of a cave bat like me. So if you really can’t avoid having some lights switched on, choose those that are less harsh like red lamps (although they seem more creepy to me!). You can also wear sleeping masks and make sure to close the curtains unless you wake up before sunrise.