Turn To The Light: A Surprising Way To Improve Sleep Using Illumination

It’s a known fact that darkness helps people sleep better. Backed by scientific studies, darkness is a stimulus to the body that it’s time to rest and relax. At this point, any sudden or gradual exposure to light can cause the body to retain an active state immediately. In fact, any stimuli such as sound or touch can wake up a person at this point.

However, some disorders make it impossible for people to sleep even with the help of total darkness. Insomnia is a perfect example of these disorders that make it difficult for a lot of individuals to fall asleep. Insomnia and a lot of other sleeping disorders require several medical and non-medical interventions.

Medical treatments include the use of certain drugs that can alter hormones and other chemical signals in a person’s brain.

Non-medical interventions include cognitive and behavioral procedures aimed to target an individual’s approach to curing certain disorders. However, there’s a revolutionary way to improve sleeping conditions that will shock most people.

The first part of this article states that darkness is the most effective stimuli in enabling a person to fall asleep. However, radical changes in the field of research suggest that there’s a treatment for sleeping disorders that involves bright lights. Here are a few more details to better understand how light can help people sleep.

Disrupted Body Clock

There are certain times a body undergoes its physiological functions. Most people call this a body or a biological clock. Certain activities can disrupt a person’s body clock. An example of this is when traveling to a different time zone wherein the body fails to synchronize itself with the current local time. This condition is called Jet lag.

Working in shifts can also cause the person to disrupt his or her body clock. When this happens, a person can’t function properly. They feel tired in the early hours of the morning while they feel very active in the late hours of the night.

Another problem people encounter is sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is when people wake up and suddenly feel sluggish and unable to feel alertness. Sleep inertia worsens when you wake up 2 hours early from your regular waking time. Sleep inertia is the reason why most people end up late even if they set their alarms correctly. Individuals who succumb to sleep inertia fall right back to bed.

How does the light do it?

Scientifically, light can reset the body’s biological clock. When the body gets exposed to light, it automatically adapts to a whole new level of the sleep and wake cycle. Most children prefer night lights to help them sleep better. The reason for these night lights might be to ward off imaginary monsters, but in reality, these lights set the tone and mood of the room.

Dimming the lights in a room can cause a person to relax and calm down. When a person is in this state, it makes them sleep much easier.

The Light Box

Lightboxes are built for sessions to restore the body’s normal circadian rhythm. This tool is usually made up of a box which houses several tubes that produce bright lights. Lightboxes usually place on top of tables where the person is required to stay a few inches away from the box.

Although it isn’t necessary for the person to stare directly into the light, it is ideal that an individual continues their normal activities like reading, writing, or even just lying in bed while being near the light source. A person may require several sessions of light therapy depending on their need and the strength of the light.

Newer versions of light boxes have protection against harmful UV rays. A lot of light boxes also come with modifications. Desk lamps, Light Visors, and even a dawn simulator that can mimic sunrise so that people can feel more comfortable when waking up. These dawn simulators can also copy and dim the lights down to simulate a sunset.


Getting the right number of hours when sleeping is essential for a person to function properly. There’s no doubt that darkness is indeed an excellent stimulus for a person to rest. Sleeping enables the body to enter a state of recovery wherein damaged tissues get repaired, hormones, and other important substances start to give of their benefits, and so much more.

However, when a person doesn’t get to sleep properly, a lot of the opposite happens to the body. The dark undoubtedly provides ample opportunity for the body to rest. But what if certain illnesses and situations such as insomnia, jet lag, and changing shifts affect the person?

Believe it or not, light treatment is a real thing which helps a lot of people adjust their body clock and return to normal sleeping patterns.

Author Byline

Zach McGavin is a home improvement writer for LampTwist.