What Is Your Circadian Rhythm and How Do Blinds Affect It?
If you’ve never heard of your circadian rhythm, you might think it has to do with musical talent. It, however, has nothing to do with how well you can keep a beat. Your circadian rhythm is what most people call your ‘internal clock’.
A human’s circadian rhythm typically aligns fairly well with the natural day/night cycle. Before electricity, people would sleep when it was dark and wake when it was light. Now that we have electric lights, the day tends to revolve around work and school schedules. It’s perfectly possible to sustain a comfortable and healthy schedule outside the rise and fall of the sun. However, it’s important to keep in mind how light affects our sleeping patterns. And yes, even electric light will have an effect. Let’s see how.
Our bodies naturally adapted over time to wake and sleep with the light of the sun and darkness of night. Because of this, our circadian rhythm is attuned to the lights around us, even now. When a person surrounds themselves with bright, electric light, they are telling their body it’s time to be awake. The opposite goes for darkness. If all of the lights are out, our body’s instinct is to go to sleep.
Unfortunately, our bodies can get confused if we tend to mix up the light levels of our environments quite a bit. If you tend to stay up doing things late into the night with the lights out, when it’s time to go to sleep, your body will think it’s time to be awake. After all, you usually spend the dark ours working or playing video games.
This is called entrainment. You’ve trained your body to react to certain light levels by staying awake or going to sleep. Fortunately, with this in mind, you’re now equipped to take control of the entrainment going on with your body.
What Do Blinds Have to Do with It?
If you wake up early in the morning for work or school, it might still be dark outside. Maybe your work hours are early or you have a long commute ahead of you. Either way, you’re telling your body that it’s okay to be awake when it’s dark. If you’re moving around your house, what is your first inclination? To turn a light on, of course! By doing this, you’re ensuring your body knows it’s daytime and time to be awake.
Where most of the trouble comes in is during the evening. If you get up early, you probably go to bed a little early too. Trying to get to sleep with the sun shining in your windows can be really tricky. Even regular, slatted blinds don’t block out all the light. This is where blinds become really important. Having blackout shades with side channels is really great for your circadian rhythm. It will lead to less bodily confusion about what time it is and what it should be doing. Then you can finally get that solid night of rest that’s been evading you.
And if you don’t go to bed early but, rather, stay up into the dark on your computer, you’re likely to have trouble sleeping. Do yourself a favor and turn on a light when it gets dark outside. Not only is it better for your eyes, it will signal time for you to sleep when you finally flip the switch.