top of page

Watch the sun rise to catch a better sleep

Have you heard that a good night's sleep starts in the morning? Indeed, your body needs exposure to sunlight to reset its internal clock and know what time it is. It also gives you energy, improves your mood and well-being, and enhances your alertness and cognitive performance. Exposing yourself to bright light every morning, as soon as you wake up, can only improve your sleep latency and sleep quality. Some researchers have shown that exposure to light minutes before waking up can also be beneficial and help you feel better in the morning.

You might wonder how to do so during wintertime or even summertime when you do not want to wake up at 5am when the sun rises, and keep your curtains closed? Well, there are plenty of lights to use as luminotherapy, including the dawn simulation light. It is a light that mimic the sunrise, which will increase in intensity (0 to 250 lux) and change in colors (red to blue enriched white) for 30 minutes before your alarm clock turns off. It has been shown to improve so-called sleep inertia (= the time it takes from the moment you wake up until you are fully awake) and our well-being. We feel less sleepy, in good mood with more energy in the morning. It has even positive effect on dementia or depressed patient, it can improve mood, alertness, and circadian rhythm stability, resulting in better sleep.

In a recent study, authors showed a beneficial effect on on carers' emotional distress. When patients stay in long-term care facilities, they are less frequently exposed to natural light or physical activity, so their circadian rhythms are less robust, leading to sleep disturbances, poor mood and drowsiness. Problems that caregivers face on a daily basis.

In this study, they exposed patients with Korsakoff's syndrome (KS) to a daylight simulation lamp in their bedrooms for 6 weeks. They were able to measure a decrease in the severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms, a decrease in apathy and disinhibition and a possible restoration of sleep through a decrease in nocturnal behaviour due to the effect of light on circadian rhythms. It follows from these results that the level of emotional distress for the caregivers was also lower. This shows the effect of light on different levels!

In short, if you want to sleep better, pay attention to sunlight in the morning!

By Virginie Gabel

Oey et al., 2022



bottom of page