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Is morning sunlight outdoors necessary for good sleep?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Sasha, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I've just read something that claimed that in order to be able to fall asleep easily at night (which I can't), you should get exposure to at least 20 minutes of natural sunlight, without glass between you and the light - so no "sunglasses" (according to this article) and no windows between you and the sun.

    I'm mostly housebound and am worse in the mornings so I don't go outside til the afternoon, if I go out at all. I also wear glasses all the time.

    If I was sure this claim was legit I might make the effort to get outside in the morning, take my specs off and stare blindly into the distance for 20 minutes, but is this just rubbish?

    Can anyone point me to some actual empirical research on this?
  2. Allyson

    Allyson *****

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    Sasha do a google search for blu light therapy and you willl get that info
    it is pretty well established
    i use a blue light box in the morhning and that helps me sleep better at night
    was recommended by a hopital sleep clinic
    cells in the eye that are receptive to peripheral blue light have been discoverd - in addition to rods and cones - - and morning light is of a bluer colour that other daylight
    definitely helps me
    but you need to stay off the pc at night or wear yellow sunglasses or that will keep you awake too
  3. Allyson

    Allyson *****

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    ps u put the blue light to your side a arms lenth so no need to stare directly at the sun
    Little Bluestem and Sasha like this.
  4. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Hi Allyson - that's interesting about morning light, which answers part of my question.

    I know that glass absorbs UV (which is why we don't get sunburn indoors) but is there any evidence that glass blocks any wavelength at the blue end that's necessary for your diurnal rhythm?
  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    My doctor had me try this (going outdoors in the morning). I've also tried an Apollo blue light. I can feel the blue light waking me up. It's supposed to stimulate serotonin production which then stimulates melatonin production at night to make you sleepy. It seemed somewhat helpful.

    However, I've had much more success with blocking blue light from computers and tv at night with amber colored clip-on sunglasses. My sleep was literally moving forward an hour every day, so that it moved around the clock every month. Very disorienting and socially inhibiting to say the least.

    Now I'm on a regular day/night schedule like a normal person. You could also just stay off the computer and tv at night as a test, which is how I accidentally found out this would work for me.
  6. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    For me vitamin D has helped so much with getting to sleep earlier. Before it I had a reversed sleep night cycle. Now I'm improving. When I take Vitamin D I end up waking earlier so it's easier for me to get outside for a short time while it's still earlier in the day (though never within 20 minutes of waking) and getting up earlier helps with being more sleepy at nighttime. But even when I don't go outside, the D alone makes a difference. I think it's affecting my melatonin somehow and normalizing it. While taking vitamin D I'm able to use the computer at night and still fall asleep shortly after I go to bed, at least it feels short compared to the hours I used to lay awake in bed. I still don't have a normal sleep schedule at all, but the vitamin D has been a tremendous help. I take in the morning after I wake. If I take it at night it disturbs my sleep.
  7. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Hi Caledonia - glad you've got your sleep cycle fixed. I ended up sleep-reversed during my first illness and although that hasn't happened during this five-year relapse, I've still got problems. I will try no TV and no computer after 9pm for a few days as a test and then try to add in going outdoors in the morning as a further test (a bit difficult because my flat is up two flights of stairs that I'll have to get back up)! I'm hoping that if these things are factors then they should kick in the same day or so.

    Hi Ocean - that's very interesting about Vit D, and the timing of it. What dose are you taking?
  8. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Only 400 a day. I've had problems tolerating vit D so I'm going slow. Also I take the dry form. In the past I had trouble with other forms. I'd love to hear if it helps you. I hope so. Sleep problems are awful. I'm still working on my sleep too, my sleep is not at all normal, but I'm so glad Vit. D has been some help at least, it's made a big difference for me.
  9. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I've tried the morning sunlight idea and the lightbox idea but they don't work for me. My cortisol is very low AM so I tried these ideas to see if they would help me get to sleep any sooner and better.

    Sadly adding light either by natural sunshine or with a light box aggrevated the early morning response making me weaker, shaking with increased nausea / faintness. It doesn't help me sleep more soundly or fall asleep earlier.

    It may be that for people with SAD or people with normal early morning cortisol it would have the desired effect though of course.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  10. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    Are these just the clip-on sunglasses you get at at drug store or 'big box' store?
  11. caledonia

    caledonia

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    I actually found the clip-ons when I was going through my deceased parents' stuff, so I don't know the exact source, but I would guess my mom got them at Walgreen's or something. They look almost exactly like these BluBlockers http://shop.blublocker.com/products/small-rimless-clip-on-blublocker-polarized, except they don't say BluBlocker on them - so they're probably some kind of BluBlocker knock-off. Knowing my mom, I doubt if she would have spent $30 on them.

    This is kind of a weird side story, but I almost didn't take the sunglasses, because I have several, but for some reason, I felt compelled to take them. This was months before I discovered the whole blue light at night thing. I guess my mom knew I needed them to fix my sleep, so she gave me the nudge to take them - thanks Mom!
  12. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    Thanks for the information and the nice story.
  13. greysonjames37

    greysonjames37

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    Caledonia -

    This is something I've noticed that worked for me as well, avoiding TV and computers in the evening. Problem is, it's so hard to stick to! TV and computers are so tempting.

    But when I'm forced to not use the computer or tv in the evening, like a trip where I don't have access to these things, my sleep patterns becomes almost normal. Wow!
  14. hurtingallthetimet

    hurtingallthetimet Senior Member

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    ive been told by doctors to get out of house for many reasons, including gettign some sunlight...to walk or sit or whatever..

    problem is i cant tolerate the heat anymore..i get headaches or migranes, i get sick to stomach, i feel weaker, and more fatigued...and not to mention the sun seems brighter and brighter as i am ill...
  15. caledonia

    caledonia

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    The computer and tv has blue light, so that works for me as a blue light substitute in the morning. Some people need more oomph, such as actual sunlight or an Apollo blue light.

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