How Daylight Enhances Your Sleep

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Do you ever notice that you sleep better after a day filled with sunshine? Well, you’re not alone. A recent study from the University of Washington sheds light on the connection between daylight exposure and sleep. In this article, let’s dive into the study’s findings and explore why daylight is crucial for improving your sleep quality.

Seasonal Differences and Daylight

As we move away from the equator, the amount of daylight decreases during the winter months. This reduction in natural light can significantly impact our sleep patterns and body clocks. A study from the University of Washington aimed to understand how seasonal variations in light exposure affect sleep and overall sleep quality.

The Power of Light

Researchers enlisted 500 students who wore devices to track their sleep and light exposure. The collected data revealed fascinating insights. During winter school days, students fell asleep 40 minutes later and woke up 27 minutes later compared to the spring season. This shift can be attributed to the decreased exposure to natural daylight and increased exposure to artificial light in winter.

Circadian Clock and Sleep

Insufficient exposure to daylight disrupts our circadian clock, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. As Horacio de la Iglesia, a senior author of the study, explains, “If you don’t get enough light during the day, it ‘delays’ your clock and pushes back the onset of sleep at night.” In simpler terms, limited daylight exposure makes it harder for us to fall asleep at night.

Managing Light for Better Sleep

The study found a strong link between light exposure and sleep timing. When students had more daylight exposure, they tended to fall asleep earlier. Regardless of the season, participants typically fell asleep about two hours after their last exposure to a 50 lux light source. 

The Takeaway

To optimise your sleep, aim for plenty of natural light during the day, even on cloudy days, and minimise exposure to bright artificial light before bedtime. Remember, nature’s gift of daylight is not only beautiful but also essential for a good night’s sleep.


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