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Are you afraid of the dark?
If yes, then there is no better time to be alive than right now. Our world is flooded with light. Yes, we are parked a perfect 92 million miles away from a monstrous star that emits so much light it will fry your eyes into crispy onions if stared at directly.
But that’s not the type of light I am referring to. We are flooded by the light constantly radiating from our smartphones, tablets, TV screens, computer monitors, street lamps, light bulbs, etc. So to be more exact, our world is flooded with artificial light. If you’re a scaredy-cat, then have no fear because you don’t ever have to face complete darkness. Even when you’re sleeping.
This may sound like a good thing and it is in some sense. Without artificial light we’d be completely at the mercy of natural light, which would be very limiting to our modern life. However, the constant exposure to light can be very disruptive, especially to our sleep. Light exposure plays an incredibly powerful role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, or better known as our circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that more or less informs it when it should be awake or when it should be asleep (or when it should be preparing to do either).
As described by the , the circadian clock uses light and dark signals to prepare your body for the appropriate cycle it should be in. Bright light exposure within two hours before bed can delay the onset of sleep which in turn delays the onset of waking up. Essentially, this exposure can shift your circadian clock so you’re falling asleep later and waking up later. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford to wake up later since we have jobs, school, or other matters to tend to in the morning.
Using this information, we can semi-confidently conclude that our body was not wired to endlessly scroll Instagram all night long since the exposure to the light from the screen will surely have its consequences (sad 😔). So the first step we can take in an effort to reclaim our sleep is to avoid bright light two hours before going to bed. Undoubtedly, this requires serious effort and some planning. Set a reminder on your phone to notify you when it’s time to shut lights off and wind down. Set a reminder on your phone to not use your phone before bed – yes, ironic. If you conquer this step and want to take it to the next level then I have just the right thing for you.
After learning about the effects of light at night, I became obsessed with blocking as much of it as possible. No source of light was too small for me to ignore. I turned off my phone. I put tape over the small LED on the fire alarm in the ceiling. I bought two sets of (which work incredibly). I shut the bedroom door and stuffed the space between the carpet with clothes.
I wanted my bedroom to be an absolute cave. I wanted to hang from the ceiling by my feet and…okay just kidding I wasn’t going full Edward Cullen vampire but you get the point. After all this, I still saw streams of light that spilled in from the street lamps. Headlights would pierce through the windows and reflect off the wall. All of this light was stressing me out because I was convinced it was messing with my sleep.
After days of overthinking this, I found the perfect solution: a . I went on Amazon and ordered a few different sleep masks to try them out. They all worked nicely but I wasn’t fully convinced on the idea of wearing one all night long. Then, I stumbled upon the perfect . The mask that changed the game forever.
It’s comfortable and fits my massive melon while blocking out ALL light. When I first put it on I was actually a bit disoriented because it was complete darkness. As I stared out into the black void, I sighed in relief for all my “light anxiety” problems were solved. It’s equally useful on an airplane. Before the mask, I usually would wake up an hour or two before my alarm because of the sunlight coming into my room. Now I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to sleep longer since all the light is blocked. Don’t even get me started on its helpfulness when taking a mid-day nap.
Batman was right when he said:
Better sleep and no late-night “light anxiety” for $12. I will take that deal any day. If you want to improve your sleep and circadian rhythm, check it out and let me know what you think.