Why You Should Say NO to Nightlights (& Other Top Recommendations to Sleep Well)

Ever wonder why you sometimes sleep better in hotels? Provided the mattress is a comfy one, most hotels have one key thing in common: black out shades.

Those heavy drapes not only help keep out street noise, but also they block all light, giving your body the ideal environment for a good night’s sleep.

Did you know that letting your little one have a nightlight could actually keep him from falling asleep?

Sleep Starts in Your Brain

Sometimes called the ‘third eye,’ the pineal gland is a small gland in your brain that notices light and dark to make melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythms (your waking and sleeping patterns).

Besides helping you sleep at night, melatonin plays other roles in your body. It is an antioxidant that is linked to lower incidence of cancer and has been shown to boost immunity as much as vitamin C!1

Bright Days, Dark Nights

The pineal gland needs darkness to produce the melatonin that tells your body it’s time to sleep. Any light you receive at night can confuse your pineal gland and decrease your body’s production of melatonin. That’s why the heavy drapes in hotels keep you asleep longer.

Without adequate amounts of melatonin, you could be more prone to sleep disorders, lethargy, depression, disease, and weaken other systems in your body. If you have trouble sleeping, read: Sleeping Trouble? Discover Why Winter is the Ideal Time to Learn How to Sleep Right.

Make More Melatonin

Removing all light in your room, even from electronics and alarm clocks, will help you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep in complete darkness and wake up gently with the Zen Alarm Clock.

To naturally stimulate your body’s production of melatonin, you need to maximize your exposure to natural sunlight during the day and maximize the darkness in your room at night. Since sleeping in a hotel room is not feasible for most of us, here are some practical tips for maximizing your melatonin production while staying in your own bed each night:

  • Go outside for 20 minutes every day, even on cloudy days. The exposure to daylight will help set your internal alarm clock.
  • Dim the lights and even better yet, light up those romantic candles. Wind down any activities at least one hour before you plan to be nodding off to sleep. Choose only quiet activities once dinner is finished. Create a regular bedtime routine with soft music and a hot, calming bath.
  • Turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed! The light from the TV and computer screen mimic natural daylight and confuses your pineal gland thus inhibiting its production of melatonin.
  • Make sure your bedroom is completely dark.
    • Get curtains that block out all light or sleep with comfortable eye shades.
    • Eliminate clutter and distractions from your bedroom space.
    • Bright digital alarm clocks, computers and cordless phones often emit enough light to interrupt melatonin production. Remove these electronics from your room and instead, use the Zen Alarm Clock to help you sleep and wake more healthfully.
  • Don’t use a night light in your room OR in your child’s room. Nightlights also disturb your natural melatonin production.
  • When you get up in the middle of the night, try not to use any lights or at least keep them dim. If you need to use the bathroom or get water, try not to turn on a bright light. Instead, use a dimmer switch to keep the lights low.

A good night’s sleep is one of the secrets for keeping your body younger and healthier. It’s an important way to create a happier and more productive tomorrow as well.

Remember, it takes time for your body to adjust to a new routine, but with these tips you’ll soon be on your way to relaxing, restful sleep.

If you want an opportunity to absorb more sunlight this winter and want to comprehensively learn the most advanced and effective dietary and lifestyle program available, come to our upcoming Certified Body Ecologist training in Florida!


  • 1 Batt, Sharon. “What Light Through Yonder Window Wreaks: Circadian Rhythms and Breast Cancer.” BCAction.org September 2000. http://www.bcaction.org/Pages/SearchablePages/2000Newsletters/Newsletter061A.html
  • Raloff, J. “Does Light Have a Dark Side? Nighttime illumination might elevate cancer risk” ScienceNews.org 17 October 1998. http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc98/10_17_98/19981017fob.asp
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