The health benefits of darkness

Our apps tell you when to avoid light because light exposure is the number one input to your body’s circadian clock (which regulates sleep, metabolism, immune response, DNA repair, physical performance and more). Light at some times speeds up your clock and helps you fall asleep faster, while light at other times can slow down your clock and make it so you fall asleep later. In general, our circadian rhythms expect a 24-hour pattern of light and dark to follow, or “entrain” to. And that dark part is important: for healthy rhythms, there have to be significant blocks of time when you really don’t get much light at all.

Yet avoiding all light has become a harder problem as society continues to invent new products and technologies that light up our night. It may look like you’ve turned off all the lights in your home, but look carefully. Is there a streetlamp outside your window shining in light? As you walk around your living room, do the lights from TVs, air conditioners and other appliances wink at you, laser beaming from your eyes straight to your brain, telling you to delay your sleep cycle? 

The human subconscious visual system is very sensitive to light exposure. A very small amount of light—10 lux—can be enough to suppress your body’s natural production of melatonin by half of what it would be in true darkness. We’re talking single candle levels of light, here.

In the face of facts like these, it can seem impossible to take away all light at night in our modern world. That’s why our technology helps you understand when the best times to avoid light may be. With adjustments to your environment: blackout curtains, sleep masks, and black out tape for example, you can reduce the amount of light around you. With our apps, we can tell you the most important time to avoid light—that way you can put on blue-blocking glasses, or even sunglasses indoors to help tell your body to wind down when it needs to. 

For recommended products, look at our circadian resolution blog post. Stay up to date on our latest tips by signing up for our mailing list!