Sleep—it’s a natural function, but it proves elusive for many Americans. There can be many health-related factors that contribute to insomnia from chronic pain to sleep apnea, but there are also a number of environmental factors that can rob you of shut-eye.
Where we live and how we live can play a big part in the quality of our sleep at night. In the wake of Sleep Awareness Week in July, let’s take a look at seven external factors that could be keeping you up at night…
This is likely the biggest outside factor affecting your sleep, and it can come down to excess light from outdoor sources, or even light inside your home. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HealthySleep) notes that light can affect your internal clock and therefore change the natural time we feel sleepy.
This connection to our “internal clock” is through light sensitive cells in your eye’s retina, according to the source. These cells are responsible for telling your brain what time of day it is. The invention of the light bulb in fairly recent history has thrown off our sleep patterns, with exposure to excess light late in the evening (or in the middle of the night) becoming more common (think of mobile device screens).