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Two Minutes to Better Sleep

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Two Minutes to Better Sleep

 

When you can get better sleep, life is just better. 

 

You're more resilient to stress and better able to contribute to the many roles in your life. 

 

When it comes to impact, few things will have the dramatic resonating effect of quality sleep. 

 

Sleep can improve insulin sensitivity, blood glucose, mood, blood pressure, immune response, performance, and maintenance of a healthy weight. 

 

Since it’s such a lynchpin, improving sleep will dramatically affect the other areas of your life. 

 

In this article, you’ll learn about a two-minute intervention that can dramatically improve your sleep. 

 

We’ll start with the science and then cover the strategy. 

 

The Science:

There are neurons in the eye that contain a protein called melanopsin. (Don't worry, there's no test on this 😄)

 

These photoreceptor cells are particularly sensitive to the wavelength of visible light and communicate information directly to the area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), also known as the central "body clock.”

 

These cells play a major role in synchronizing circadian rhythms to the 24-hour light/dark cycle, providing primarily length-of-day and length-of-night information.

 

In response to the observation of the setting sun and its relatively little blue light in the evening, the body produces more melatonin to prepare for sleep and recovery. 

 

 

In short, there are specialized areas of your eye that let your brain know when it's time to be awake and when it's time to sleep.

 

We can use this information to beneficially impact sleep. 

 

 

The Strategy:

The simple act of witnessing the setting sun sets the body up for sleep. 

 

This simple observation can take as little as 2 minutes and gives the body the opportunity to start the hormonal cascade necessary for quality sleep. 

 

In addition to preparing the body for sleep, viewing the sunset also makes the body more resilient to blue light exposure later in the evening. 

 

It’s a win-win. 

 

To sum it up…The Summary:

  • The human eye contains photosensitive cells that help dictate the sleep and wake cycle
  • The setting sun is a powerful stimulus to inform the body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep
  • Observing the evening sun not only sets the body up for sleep but also makes it more resilient to light exposure later in the evening. 

 

One sentence takeaway:

Observing sunlight in the evening can dramatically improve sleep by informing the brain to start winding down and preparing for sleep. 


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