People often overlook the most important factor that affects the quality of their sleep.  Let's cut to the chase; the single best tip to getting a better night's sleep is really by staying away from light sources.

Light affects life.  Simple as that.  Light energizes and the absense of it signals that it's time to hit the hay.  More importantly, our bodies and our eyes have evolved to respond to signals in the spectrum of light that tells our body when it's time to wake up and when it's time for bed.

Some colours of the rainbow enhance sleep and some affect it adversely.

The general rule of thumb is this: BLUE LIGHT IS BAD LIGHT (for sleeping).

 

Living in the Dark

Armed with the knowledge that blue light is the culprit, we can do a few things to improve our sleep.  There are many tips out there advocating that you "turn off your tv or devices", but that to me is like telling you to live in the dark ages again (figuratively and literally).  It's not practical or realistic in our day and age where so many of us use computers and computing devices at all hours of the day for work and play.  So there must be a better way to have our cake and eat it too.

Seeing the Light
Credit: E. Ting

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Besides abstaining from light, what can we do?

What I've found is that there are a few things we can do to passively block out the BLUE spectrum.   If we are on our devices at night, we can block out the light by programming our computers to filter out that light.  Sound easy?  No, it doesn't involve you buying a piece of plastic to put over your screen or funny looking goggles to shield you.  Luckily for us, there are a few people out there who has solved the problem for us via specialized (and free to use) software.  The software just tells the computer that when the sun goes down, so does the BLUE spectrum of light.

There are several software applications that can do this filter.  Of the ones out there though, I personally use F.lux.  Its available for Windows, Mac OS-X and Linux users.  There is also an option for iPhone and iPad, but this requires a bit of tweaking (see F.lux for iOS).

I've tried F.lux and it works so well.  You don't even notice it's there.  Try it for yourself and feel better. 

A Dark Room

Besides ensuring your pre-bedtime computer use is blue-light tight, what also helps a great deal is to keep out the sunlight in the first place.  What has worked for me is by getting BlackOut Curtains.  They work wonders because they completely block out any light to ensure that your light remains dark in the morning until you pull them back.

Give these two ideas a try!  They've really been very helpful to me in getting better sleep naturally.  Leave a comment if you have had any success!  Sweet dreams!