|My homunculus is getting sleepy.|
Modern society is pushing our bodies and brains into new territory. We have easy access to too many calories, we lead sedentary lifestyles, and we have the ability to create light at will. For our monkey-like ancestors, light was available when the sun was up, and our circadian rhythms used this powerful, daily cue to determine when to make us sleep and when to get us up. But, when the sun never sets (just switch on a light), how does our brain know what's up? It doesn't.
Because of our biology, we need to avoid light when we're trying to sleep. In addition, in the time preceding sleep, we need to reduce the amount of light in order to signal to our brain that it's sleepy-time.
Task: Reduce ambient light in your home in the hour preceding your Bed Time.
Info: The less light the better. The longer you can be in low light prior to sleep, the better. Reduce lights to a minimum. Also, the dimmer the lights you must use, the better. Even if you only have one light on, if it's super-bright and right in your face, that's no good. You want to really set the mood for relaxation and slumber. Pare down to a few, dim, warm lights and start getting sleepy. Also, I hate to burst your bubble, but that screen of light you stare at every night before bed (your TV)? Yeah, turn that off.
Goal: Maximize length and extent of low-light conditions prior to sleep.
Beyond just light, in general, the science seems to suggest that blue light in particular seems to be a nasty sleep-killer. Unfortunately, blue light is a major component of the light pouring out of our TVs and computer-screens. In fact, the software F.lux can control the amount of blue light produced by your computer, so I recommend you check it out if you must be on your computer late at night.