Darkness Induces Sleep

Darkness Induces Sleep

I had no idea that sitting in the dark activates melatonin production, which in turn chemically induces sleepiness. I thought sleepiness just happened when I was tired; it turns out that all those lights and computer monitors has something to do with me staying up. Thanks Lynn for pointing this out yesterday.


  1. Eric 9 years ago

    Hi Dave, I’m not sure if anyone else has sent you this link, but I’ve been using F.Lux recently, which makes your computer screen more orange as the sun goes down. (Obviously better for coders than for graphic designers that care about white balance.) I haven’t noticed an impact on my sleep schedule, but my eyes like it.

  2. Jeff 9 years ago

    Dave, you should also try F.lux. I find that I don’t notice the temperature difference in my monitors too much as it’s a gradual change, and it’s simple enough to disable if I have any colour-sensitive work.

    May be useful if you find it hard to stop working within an hour of bedtime (like me!).

  3. J Wynia 9 years ago

    I would also consider taking some Vitamin D. I recently started taking it when I changed to a low carb diet. I started sleeping better (falling asleep really easily and staying asleep all night) and attributed it to the diet change.

    Then, I ran out of the Vitamin D and after about a week, I was having difficulty falling asleep again. I added back the Vitamin D and I’m right back to good sleep.

    Convinced me.

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 9 years ago

    Eric, Jeff: Awesome! Thanks for telling me about F.lux! Installed…we’ll see what happens :)

    J: Interesting on the Vitamin D. Where did you get the idea that this would help restfulness?

    • J Wynia 9 years ago

      It came up in an entirely different context. The “paleo” diet people that I’ve been reading on my low carb diet talk about how, particularly in the winter, we no longer get anywhere NEAR as much sun as we did in pre-industrial times, meaning we’re all pretty deficient in Vitamin D (since our skin produces Vitamin D when we’re in the sun).

      So, I decided to add it on that basis. The sleep aspect caught me entirely by surprise. Like I said, I first thought it was just due to the change in diet, until I ran out of Vitamin D and the sleep problems returned, despite the same diet.

      The theory was confirmed for me when I re-filled my supply of Vitamin D and within 3 days found myself falling asleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow again.

      I’ve since done a bit of looking around and it seems there’s some science to back this up that I hadn’t seen before.

      Personally, I’m wondering if this is part of why we sleep well after a long day outside in the sun.

    • J Wynia 9 years ago

      I’m also taking quite a bit of Vitamin D. Again, based on the info from the doctors in the “paleo” end of things, I’m taking 4 pills per day, planning on getting tested to see where my levels are at.

  5. JDP 9 years ago

    I saw this in RSS and thought immediately, “This mean needs f.lux.” so I’m pleased to see it’s been mentioned (repeatedly). It’s a fantastic piece of software and it’s made a huge difference for me.

  6. Darice de Cuba 9 years ago

    Jeff: Thanks for pointing out F.Lux, I installed it right away.

    I thought Vitamine D shortage made one sleepy during the day. I have a severe shortage for which I get prescription Vitamine D pills and Vitamine D3 drops. Since I’m using the drops, once a month, I’m less sleepy during the day.

    But like Dave said, all kind of lights keep you awake. My doctor told me to have a good sleep hygiene, which means; no TV, computer, phones or books in or before bed. Don’t drink caffeine after eight and no heavy foods. Not an easy feat.