Using black out curtains or a sleep shade provides many health benefits. And better than taking artificial melatonin as sleep aid in a supplement form. Installing black out drapes or wearing an eye mask are your best and most natural ways to maximize your natural melatonin protection.
Research has proven that artificial night light suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin production is essential to get deep restorative sleeps and ward off major diseases like cancer.
And, research confirms that blocking out artificial light helps to greatly reduce tumor growth in breast cancer (see below for reducing your breast cancer risk) and prostate cancer. (see Part Two for reducing your prostate cancer risk.) Other studies show when you eliminate exposure to artificial light, your deep restorative sleep is enhanced.
Melatonin as a Sleep Aid :
Your body naturally produces melatonin when it's dark. Research has proven that if artificial night light reaches your retina, your natural, sleep-inducing melatonin production is suppressed. Black out curtains or wearing a sleep shade (sleeping mask) ensure that lights at night helps to maximize the body's natural melatonin production, vital for optimizing your sleep and health quality .
... or is unwanted light suppressing your melatonin protection?
Here's how to tell if your room is dark enough. Tonight, when you get into bed, turn off the lights like you normally do. Close your eyes for 10-20 seconds, then open them. Look around your room ...
Can you see?
• electronic lights from your TV, DVD, clock/alarm/radio or computer
(Congratulations if you have no electronics in your bedroom)
• light seeping in around your bedroom door. Or, if your bedroom door isn't closed, is there any visible light from the hall or other rooms?
• plug-in night lights
• artificial light seeping in or around your window coverings from the street or your neighbors' outside lights, or your own
Here's your quickest and most affordable way to maximize your body's natural melatonin production:
Wear a sleeping mask ! A sleep shade (eye mask) might feel a little strange at first, but it soon becomes comforting ... not unlike when car seat belts were first enforced.
You'll quickly adapt, especially when you start feeling and seeing the benefits. (A sleep mask is also perfect for travel -- for grabbing a bit of shut eye on planes, or blocking out light seeping in and around ill-fitting window coverings or from electronics, in even the best of hotel rooms.)
However, if you just can't get used to wearing a sleep mask, then your next best option is:
Install black out curtains (make sure they fit tightly on all four edges). Better still, have them fitted to cover window and several inches/millimeters of the wall on either side. Ensure they hang flush (no space) from the ceiling.
Total darkness is the key to maximize your natural melatonin, required for vitality and good health. The sooner you take action, the more immediate you'll experience the benefits ... often overnight!
If installing black out curtains isn't convenient at the moment, why not get night masks for the whole family. Also, eye masks make great gifts for other cherished loved ones.
Artificial Light & Breast Cancer
Women'sHealthMatters.ca, a January, 2006 publication by Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Canada, reviewed a National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funded study, in a articled titled: "Artificial light at night stimulates breast tumour growth".
"... study in laboratory mice show that night time exposure
to artificial light stimulated the growth of human breast tumours by
suppressing the levels of a key hormone called melatonin. The study also
showed that extended periods of night time darkness greatly slowed the
" ...results suggest that the increasing night time use of electric lighting, both at home and in the workplace, may be a significant factor."
(If you are a shift worker and/or a women susceptible to breast cancer you are at a greater risk. Read the full article here to reinforce the importance of installing black out curtains or wearing a sleep shade.)
And men, you do not escape the cancer risk!!
See this continuing article explaining the connection between melatonin and your prostate cancer risk.
Go to Sleep Hygiene for improving your health and vitality.
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