If you’re like my family, there are times when some of you don’t get enough sleep.  In fact about 30% of Americans don’t get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep that we need to stay healthy.  Now that everybody is plugged into an electronic device these days (especially teens) is seems to be getting worse.  

Electronic devices and even some night lights suppresses your production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the body’s clock.  Light during the day is good because it boosts your mood and keeps you more alert.  But at night, light makes falling and staying asleep harder because it prevents your body from making melatonin. 

If you struggle with getting enough sleep, there are a number of recommendations that might help (often referred to as sleep hygiene).  Here are some helpful hints: 

  • Sleep 7 to 8 hours in total darkness;
  • Avoid electronic media with brightly lit screens before going to bed. This includes televisions, computers, and even your smart phone;
  • If you use nightlights, try using dim lights, which are less likely to suppress melatonin production; and
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will help to reset your body’s internal clock, making it easier to sleep well at night.