Sleeping well is essential to good health. Globally, 67 percent of adults claim sleep has significantly impacted their overall health and wellness . As Daylight Savings Time ends, and the darker, shorter days of winter begin, it’s a good time to revisit the importance of sleep, and the impacts that this time of year can have on the body. While many see the shorter days as an opportunity to hit the snooze button or go to bed earlier, others find it difficult to adjust to the change. This is because the body’s circadian system – which helps balance and indicate a person’s sleep cycle with cues from the environment, including sunlight and darkness – is disrupted. Many times, inadequate, disrupted sleep can lead to less productivity throughout the day, and even affect people in ways they may not predict – from sleep deprivation to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) .
While it can take time, and be difficult to adjust, there are ways to adapt to the time change. Research has shown people do best when they rise with light. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to bright light in the morning can help people wake up feeling more ready for their day . During these fall and winter months when there is less exposure to sunlight, it can be helpful to counteract the effects of lost sunlight with bright, artificial light therapy.