Struggle to fall asleep at night?
It could be to do with what you are doing in the morning!!
Your brain needs a signal that it is time to ‘start the day’, and the best signal of all is natural light. Exposing your eyes to natural light, ideally within the first 30-60mins of waking will support a natural rise in the hormone cortisol which helps set up your body clock for the day!
Without the brain getting the ‘start the day’ message, it struggles to get the ‘end the day’ message (the signal to release melatonin at night) as one can impact the other.
If you are inside the whole day and don’t expose your eyes to natural light, this morning cortisol rise doesn’t happen in the same way. You might be thinking, well the lights are bright inside though? It is NOT the same. The lux (light intensity) outside is thousands of times higher outside than indoor light. If it is cloudy, it still counts, you just need to be outside for a bit longer. On a sunny morning 10 minutes is a good goal at a minimum, if cloudy, nearer 30 minutes.
The extra benefit of natural light, as you will have heard me discuss before, is that it can boost your serotonin and suppress your melatonin, making you feel happier and less sleepy. And when you are less sleepy, it is easier to regulate the hormones that control your appetite too, making it easier to eat well.
More tips on sleep here.
The other thing to remember is that being physically active during the day supports good sleep, as well as limiting your caffeine to less than 400mg. Check your drinks here.
Here are some ideas to help you get the morning light:
Walk or eBike to work – I have consciously been taking out my awesome Bosch eBike Systems eBike to as many of my morning meetings as possible for this very reason! Plus, the bonus is, exercise AND saving money on petrol. Winner winner. If you are keen to check out eBikes, contact the fab team at Electric Bike Team.
Put a woolly hat on and eat your breakfast outside, today it was unsweetened yoghurt, chopped pear, 2 tbsp granola and extra pumpkin seeds, yum!
Hang out the washing or do any small outside jobs in the morning if you can
Can you get some extra steps in before work? Park your car further away perhaps
At the weekends, a morning outdoor activity is the way to go!
As well as getting outside in the mornings, small breaks outside during the day also help too! And… at night, dim lights please and screen free time before bed. This all works in reverse at nighttime.