To get a full night of sustained sleep, your sleep space needs to be completely dark. I know that's easier said than done, but the latest research shows that even the smallest amount of light can be disruptive to our sleep.
"It's almost like the brain and the heart knew that the lights were on, although the individual was sleeping," says Zee.
The study is an important example of how even relatively dim light exposure can be disruptive to our sleep-wake cycle, saysDr. Chris Colwell, whose lab at UCLA studies the mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms.He says the findings makes sense because the autonomic nervous system has a robust daily rhythm.
"There's a lot of coordinated actions that have to occur in order for us to get a good night's sleep and the autonomic nervous system balance regulates that," says Colwell.
This effect on the nervous system wasn't "dramatic" — not as if the people were awake — but Colwell says it's still concerning: "You don't want that going on when you're trying to get a good night's sleep."
Here are a few DIY things you can do to make your sleep space as dark as possible: