According to Statistic Brain nearly a third of Americans do not sleep well. Sleep apnea, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome are conditions that add to the near epidemic of insomnia. Bad habies, work hours and the food we eat are all culprits, but those things do not account for all of it.
A lack of sleep seems to be more of a problem for civilized societies, so that might give us a clue as to other reasons. Many studies point to the fact that we humans have natural sleep/awake rhythms that can be upset by light. When your eyes see light in the blue spectrum, such as natural daylight, your brain interprets it as awake time. When the light is in the red spectrum, as in sunset or the glow of a fire, your brain interprets that as sleep time.
Most of us live indoors for the most part and have only brief times of natural light experience throughout the day. Furthermore, TV and computer screens emit light in the blue spectrum, and we tend to use both in the evening. That tells our brains that day is not over yet, no matter what time of day or night it is. To compound this, much of our artificial lighting, especially fluorescent lighting, is made to mimic the natural blue spectrum lighting of the outdoors; just what we don't need at 10 PM.
So there could be your problem. The solution? Avoid using the computer and turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime. Two hours is better. Avoid bright flourescent lights during that same time frame. Winding down with candles or kerosene lamps might be extreme for most of us, but choosing lamp shades that filter light with red or orange tints could help.
A red lampshade may not fit your decor, but you could use one that could be put away at other times. That would be a lot more frugal and safer than sleep "aids" which can be addictive, if only in the sense that sooner or later you cannot sleep without them. Melatonin can help, but it's difficult to get the right dose, and again, you become dependent on it, since the more you take in pill form, the less your body produces.
If you suffer from sleep problems, become active in solving them. Popping a pill should be the last resort. There are many things you can do to help yourself sleep through the night. Lighting is just the tip of the iceberg.
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