Using black out curtains or a sleep shade provides many health benefits. Before taking melatonin as sleep aid or supplement, try black out drapes or wearing an eye mask ... your best and most natural way to maximize your 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 tumour growth in breast cancer and prostate cancer. Other studies show when you eliminate exposure to artificial light your deep restorative sleep is enhanced.
Is artificial light suppressing your melatonin protection?
Here's how to tell if your room is dark enough:
Tonight, when you go to bed, turn off the lights like you normally do, close your eyes for 10-20 seconds, then open them. Take a good look
... can you see:
• electronic lights from your TV, DVD, clock/alarm/radio or computer
(Kudos to you if you have no electronics in your • 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 neighbours' outside lights, or your own
Here's how to maximize your body's natural melatonin production?
1. Wear a sleeping mask; your easiest and the most affordable alternative to installing black out drapes. A sleep shade might feel a little strange at first, but it soon becomes comforting ... not unlike when car seat belts were first enforced, or
2. Install black out curtains (make sure they fit tight to all four edges. Better still have them fitted to cover some of the wall on either side. Ensure they hang flush (no space) from the ceiling. If ever there was a case for sleeping in total darkness, this is it. I hope you think so too and will take immediate action.
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.)Note: The "Graveyard Shift" interviews start at 1 min. 37 sec.)
And men, you are also at risk!
Artificial Light & Prostate Cancer
An article citing a University of Haifa study, published in 2009, by Science Daily, "Artificial Light At Night: Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer, study states".
"At the very first stage of the study, it already became clear that there is a marked link between the incidence of prostate cancer and levels of night time artificial illumination and electricity consumption. Several different methods of statistical analysis were used to arrive at this conclusion."
Attention: All men susceptible to prostate cancer.
Be sure you read the full article here to reinforce why you too should plan to either wear a sleep shade (eye mask) or install black out curtains.
However, prevention is your best medicine. Be sure to sleep in a totally darkened bedroom, either with black out curtains or a sleep mask.
... real men wear sleep masks.