Many years ago I came across what I consider to be the best treatment for insomnia. After years of living with sleeplessness and spending money on useless remedies, I discovered something natural - and totally free - that helped me immensely.
Now please don't be too skeptical as you read on. I discovered for myself that this really does make a difference, and the scientific evidence is there to support it. So let me explain.
That's right, sunlight! And here's why.
Sunlight has a huge effect on our body temperature rhythm (known as circadian rhythm), and also on the production of melatonin in our bodies.
As most people know, melatonin is the hormone responsible for putting us to sleep. Our melatonin levels naturally begin to rise late in the day as the sunlight begins to fade. Then when we wake in the morning and allow sunlight into our eyes, our melatonin levels begin to fall.
Our body temperature does not stay constant throughout the day, but rises and falls slightly in a 24 hour cycle that affects how awake or asleep we feel.
As our body temperature rises we feel more awake, and as it falls we begin to feel more tired and lethargic. In a normal cycle, body temperature begins to rise in the early hours of the morning, has a drop in the afternoon (which is why we sometimes feel tired at this time of day), rises again until late in the evening, and then begins to drop ready for our nighttime slumber.
So what has this got to do with sunlight?
Our body temperature rhythm is directly affected by the amount of natural sunlight that enters our eyes. Exposure to sunlight helps our body temperature to rise in the morning, and it also delays the drop in body temperature, which means we will stay alert for longer.
A general lack of sunlight will cause our body temperature rhythm to flatten out, so that the rise and fall in temperature is less. It won't rise enough to help you feel more awake in the day, and it won't drop low enough at night to allow you to enter a deep state of sleep.
As previously mentioned, melatonin is the hormone that puts us to sleep. And our melatonin levels are also greatly affected by the amount of sunlight that we expose ourselves to.
If you don't expose your eyes to sunlight as soon as possible in the morning after waking (and yes, there is still sunlight in the atmosphere even when it's cloudy), then it takes longer for your
melatonin levels from the night to drop, and you stay drowsy for longer.
So obviously if you stay inside all day you're going to feel more drowsy than if you make the effort to go outside and get some health-giving sunshine - the best treatment for insomnia.
So a lack of sunshine leads to lower body temperatures, plus higher levels of melatonin during the day when you don't need it, difficulty in falling asleep at night, and an overall feeling of being tired and lethargic throughout the day.
So why are we not getting enough sunlight to keep our natural sleep systems healthy?
Well, look at how our lifestyles have changed over the last century. Many of us spend our entire day in an office or some other indoor workplace. We wear sunglasses incessantly, even when we don't need to. We drive around in cars that often have tinted windows. And we spend too much time in front of the television or some other electronic device in the evening. Even many of our sports are now played indoors or under lights at night.
So what about artificial light?
Being inside under any kind of lighting, no matter how bright, is no replacement for sunlight.
A lux is a measurement of the intensity or brightness of light. When we're inside under light globes we are generally receiving about 300 luxes of light, but compare this to a sunny day outside and you are exposed to about 100,000 luxes. Sunlight is a completely different kind
of light to the artificial light we have created for ourselves, so we can never use artificial lighting as a replacement for exposing our eyes to sunlight.
Of course, you should never look directly at the sun as this is obviously harmful. Just being outside is enough to allow sunlight to enter our eyes.
So what lifestyle changes can you make to get more sunlight and improve your body's natural sleep cycle?
So harnessing the best treatment for insomnia is simple, natural and it's totally free. So what are you waiting for - go outside!