Is Waking to Sunlight Good or Bad for Sleep Quality?

Is Waking to Sunlight Good or Bad for Sleep Quality?

Sometimes we get questions in our heads that stick with us until we find an answer. Those questions are often driven by irritation. Have you ever woken up to blinding sunlight pouring through the window and wondered if this is actually messing with your sleep in an unhealthy way? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Domir Blinds specializes in all things window-covering and sunlight-managing. Here’s what we can tell you.

Is Waking to Sunlight Bad for Sleep Quality?

There’s no straightforward answer to this specific question. The fact is, if your sleep is being interrupted and you’re being forced awake before you’ve had enough sleep, then yes, the sunlight is bad for your sleep quality. However, the issue here is really the timing of the sunlight rather than waking to it in general.

Is Waking to Sunlight Good for Sleep Quality?

On the other hand, one might experience waking up to sunlight after they’ve had plenty of sleep. Getting sunlight directly in your eyes can be overwhelming. However, that’s more the amount of sunlight rather than the sunlight itself.

The Answer

No matter which question you ask, there are specific elements that are ‘yes’ and certain elements that are ‘no.’ So, now that we know it’s a nuanced subject, what’s the actually useful information?

Circadian Rhythm

Circadian rhythm is really where everything comes together. In order to answer this question of yours, you have to know about this function of the human mind and body.

Circadian Rhythm is the scientific name of what people usually call their internal clock. The fact is, your circadian rhythm is trained into you from a young age. If you get up every day at 6am and go to bed at 9pm as a kid, your body will get used to this. Your brain will associate the rising sun with waking up. The sensory onslaught of sudden light alerts you to the change in time and lets you know the day is beginning.

Likewise, if you’re used to going to bed when the sun goes down, your brain will associate darkness with sleep. As the sun begins to set, you’ll begin to get sleepy.

Circadian Rhythm in Modern Days

Because we don’t typically get up with the dawn and sleep with the dusk like people did just a few hundred years ago, circadian rhythm is a bit trickier these days. You might turn a lamp on at sunset and then turn it off to sleep at midnight. So, what happens when the sun comes shining into your room at 6am? If your home is set up to facilitate it, you’ll usually just sleep through it until you’ve had enough sleep or your alarm goes off at 9am.

However, if you sleep with a lamp on or sit in the dark all day, your circadian rhythm will begin to get messy and unstable. If your brain doesn’t have strong light/dark associations with sleep time, you may find yourself prone to insomnia. Our brains are surprisingly good at connecting things to sleep and wake states. This is why sleep hygiene is so important.

The Solution

So, in the end, waking to sunlight is actually great for sleep quality. That is, so long as it’s not waking you up before you’ve had enough. 

If you find your sleep being cut short too early by the sun, there’s an easy solution: get some blinds. Slatted blinds won’t do the trick. If your window faces east and you go to bed late, get some blackout blinds. That way, the morning sun won’t disrupt you. Don’t mind a little light, but need it to stop shining directly onto your face? Opt for something like a window screen or the Ninet, which allows diffuse light in.

You can even go the extra mile and really work on setting your circadian rhythm, you can also opt for motorized blinds. Even if you go to bed at 2am and wake up at noon, you can get your sleep in the dark with a blackout shade. Then, when noon comes around, your motorized blinds can be set to open up, letting the light in and alerting you to “morning.” All of these blinds options are available right here in Toronto from Domir Blinds. Give us a call if you have questions regarding our blinds or ordering process.

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