5.28.2008

Lights Out


'Lights out' is the best approach to a good night's sleep. Darkness stimulates the body's natural production of a hormone called 'melatonin' which is important for sleep promotion. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland (a tiny pea-sized gland located in the center of the brain) and governs the sleep/ wake cycle. It is the absence of light at night that causes biochemical changes to take place in our bodies that lead to a significant increase in melatonin levels. It is in part, this elevation of melatonin that causes us to feel sleepy and enjoy a good nights' sleep. Granted, living in a city with glaring flourescent lights 24/7 can make it difficult to experience true darkness, but there are 'blackout' curtain and shade options available. Creating nighttime darkness is a worthwhile endeavour as science suggests the importance of melatonin extends beyond a good night's sleep, it is also believed to be protective against breast cancer and alzheimers disease, as well as an important factor in memory and cognitive function.

-un

Turning the lights out at night is not only good for us humans, but also the birds. www.toronto.ca/lightsout