Light pollution is the resulting effect of excessive artificial light. Many people who live in built-up areas will be well aware of the effects of light pollution, whereas it is less likely to affect those in rural areas. Light pollution can also have a serious effect on your circadian rhythm, which is partially controlled by the presence of night and day.
Your circadian rhythm is essentially your 24-hour biological clock, as it controls when you are most alert, most sleepy and most energetic. We are biologically programmed to feel tired at night, because the process of night and day controls the production of melatonin, an important sleep-inducing chemical. Without this, you will struggle to fall into a peaceful and restorative sleep at a consistent time.
People living in cities are most prone to light pollution, because of the amount of artificial light sources, such as cars, lampposts, other residential buildings and local businesses. In some of the most artificially-lit cities, the resulting effect is quite startling, especially in very densely-populated areas, such as Tokyo, Shanghai and Mexico City.
If you feel that light pollution is affecting your ability to sleep, then there are certain ways to help you rectify the problem. Your bedroom should be as dark as possible, and to help this you can put up thick black-out curtains, which will help significantly reduce the amount of light that enters the room. If you cannot do this, then a sleep mask will offer the same benefits.
Light pollution is also a problem due to the presence of technology in our homes. Most people will use a television, computer, mobile phone and other artificially-lit pieces of technology on a regular basis, including in the run up to bedtime. To combat this, you need to turn off as many artificial light sources as possible in the hour before bed, and spend the time reading or book or just relaxing.
The importance of natural sunlight during the day is just as important as the dark at night, so it is important to experience exposure to natural light for at least some of the day. If you work in an office during the day, use your break or lunch hour to spend some time outside, rather than spending all day under artificial light.
The presence of light and dark is a vital part of our sleep schedule, and regulates our circadian rhythm. Ignoring this can lead to a number of sleep problems, which will impact on your everyday life. Simply remembering to keeping your bedroom as dark as possible at night and exposing yourself to sunlight during the day will go a long way to ensuring you don’t have any problems.