In the past, humans would experience periods of daily light and darkness which allowed their intrinsic circadian rhythm (internal clock) to work properly. Since the invention of electric light, however, exposure to nighttime lighting has blurred those two lines, making it more difficult to synchronize our biological process. Why is this internal clock so important? Because, when exposure to light is at the wrong time, our internal rhythm can become out of order leading to negative health consequences.
In fact, mood disorders have been associated with light and circadian rhythms. A large number of mood disorders are either characterized by sleep and circadian rhythm disruption or irregular light cycle. Sleep disruption is a main diagnostic criterion for depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mood disorders. The circadian regulation is a huge part of how the body functions. So when the system gets thrown off rhythm, the body does not function well.
In 2007, the World Health Organization designated shift work as a “probable carcinogen” after findings from epidemiological and laboratory studies proved that light at night increases the risk of breast cancer. Basically, exposure to light at night disrupts the circadian timing system in the brain. Street lights, nightlights, watching tv or looking at your phone can all throw your system off balance.
When the sun first enters your eyes, it stimulates a part of the retina that cues the brain to produce serotonin. The body uses serotonin to send messages between nerve cells but it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that the brain has to produce it on its own. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter hormone that’s produced by the intestines and the brain. It plays a role in regulating mood, emotions, appetite and digestion. Serotonin is needed to produce melatonin.
Several research studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system works closely with serotonin levels and influence each other. It is believed they work together to maintain homeostasis. Other reasons why cannabinoids affect serotonin levels is because it activates CB1 receptors, which are mainly located in the brain.
Another huge factor on mood is the result of magnesium has on the nervous system. One study found that those that took magnesium over the course of two months slept longer and fell asleep faster. Those who take magnesium have higher levels of melatonin in their system.
Here are 10 easy ways to ensure a better night sleep!
- Watch the sunrise and sunset
- Avoid nightlights
- Use blackout curtains
5. Eat foods that boost serotonin
6. Avoid blue light at night
7. Use red lights
8. No afternoon caffeine
9. Take CBD/CBN before bed (also magnesium in some form)
10. Positive thoughts (the brain is cued to create serotonin in response to positive emotions)
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I hope this helps you get a better sleep cycle. If you have any questions or would like to purchase CBD, I am happy to help. You can reach out to me via email or social media.
Reference: Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits by T A Bedrosian and R J Nelson