Happiness and Melatonin

I was awake from 1:45-3:15am last night and I blame melatonin.

Normally I can make my way around the bedroom and bathroom in the dark without a problem, but last night I knocked something over and had to turn on a dim light to pick it up.  I instantly remembered a study I read yesterday about how even a brief exposure to dim light in the night resets our biological clock, shuts off the release of melatonin (which is what makes us tired), and then it doesn’t necessarily turn back on just because we plunge ourselves into darkness again.

I don’t know if I was awake because I truly screwed up my melatonin release or because I was just obsessing that I might have.  So this morning I thought I would take the opportunity to provide you all with a PSA, because feeling fatigued and lethargic can most certainly affect one’s happiness, especially if it’s a regular thing.

Study upon study indicates that exposure to light – especially blue ray light which is emitted from TVs and monitors of any sort as well as LED light bulbs –  prevents the release of melatonin.  If we’re exposed to it in the hours before bedtime it delays the release of melatonin and if we’re exposed to it in the middle of the night it can actually reset our internal biological clock.  Melatonin allows us to get sleep (which in turn affects our mood, energy level, and general mental health) and studies have suggested that melatonin contributes to a strong immune system, cancer prevention, Alzheimer’s disease, and inflammation.

So all you have to do is avoid all TVs, monitors, and LED lights for a few hours before bedtime and get really good at finding your way to the bathroom in complete darkness.  A small price to pay for increased protection from major illnesses, great sleep, and a mood boost!