Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day: To sleep better, turn on the light

King Features SydicateMay 15, 2013 

If you're doing more tossing than a Major League baseball player at spring training - but you're tossing in bed - it's time to look at sleep in a whole new light.

A blue light.

Blue light is short-wavelength light - the kind that floods the world at sunrise. There's growing evidence that a dose of blue in the morning or at midday keeps your body clock in order, so you're alert during the day and ready to catch some shut-eye at night.

What happens when you miss out? In one small study, eighth-graders agreed to wear orange-tinted glasses that blocked blue light. Blood tests measured the time of day when their bodies released a spurt of the snooze-inducing hormone melatonin - a sign that their body clocks were winding down for sleep.

After just five days, the melatonin spurt was pushed back by a half-hour - a sign that not being exposed to blue light interferes with your ability to fall asleep easily. We suspect it works the same way if you're older than that.

A few minutes of morning light may be all it takes to reset your brain's slumber schedule.

So pull up the shades and throw open the curtains first thing. Better yet, take a brief stroll in the morning or at lunchtime. Exposure to blue light may even help people with dementia - a group whose sleep schedules are often thrown way off.

And if you have to get up in the night, turn on a red light; it doesn't affect melatonin, so you'll be able to get back to sleep better.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

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