I always thought that “Insomnia” was a great song. Not at all like what I would usually listen to but I love it. I love the alliteration, I love the way it captures the feeling of insomnia and I love the dance music bit in the middle! I also love the line used above in the title…. Butwhere am I going with this, it’s not a tribute to the band “Faithless” and a song they first released 16 years ago, rather a lead in to some words about darkness and sleep and their unsung importance to all of us .
Why do we go to bed at night and why do we turn off the light to sleep? There is a reason and as with many rituals we have, they originated in a time before medicine as we now know it. The obvious of course is why we sleep, our bodies need time to recharge, repair and regenerate.
Darkness sends a signal to our brains that we are going into rest mode. Complete darkness is recommended and thought to aid a more restful sleep. Even the tiniest light, like a light from a TV on standby is thought to adversely affect sleep. Artificial light is thought to increase
awareness and makes it more difficult for us to fall asleep. Melatonin is a hormone which we release to help us sleep. The production of melatonin is controlled by light exposure and more is released in darkness.
Our total mood is altered if we haven’t had enough sleep as is our ability or inability to deal with things that life throws at us. We have all heard of the saying “Let me sleep on it “. A good night of restful sleep can give us clarity and help us to think more clearly. It’s true what they say – the darkest hour is just before dawn!
It also matters when you go to sleep – 8 hours sleep commencing between the hours of 21.00 & midnight is more beneficial than 8 hours commencing at 3 am! The exact reasons for this are not known but it is thought to be connected to sunset and sunrise. If you actually think about it, you will find that you still wake feeling somewhat groggy if you go to sleep at 2 am and wake at 11 or 12 the next day.
Invest in some black out blinds or get an eye mask & try to get your children used to sleeping without a light on – or if you need to use a night light it is thought that a red light causes least interference. Dim the lights in your home in the hour or so approaching bed time, this sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to start relaxing body & mind.
Go to bed at roughly the same time every night when possible and try to get to sleep before midnight. If you can avoid it don’t watch TV in bed. Clear your mind – write down any major worries you may have before you go to bed this won’t solve them but does go some way in helping you clear your mind.