Did you know that the amount of light you expose yourself to can directly impact your body’s internal clock? Sunlight exposure can influence your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock. The circadian rhythm controls the signals to wake up and determines when it’s time to sleep.

Exposing yourself to natural light throughout the day can help enhance your energy, while also improving your sleep at night. Below, learn more about how you can tweak your light exposure to biohack your sleep.

When to Expose Yourself to Natural Light

Research suggests that sun exposure in the morning is a great way to start your day, promoting your body to awaken. Throughout the day, it’s also important to expose yourself to natural sunlight, which will help your body produce the necessary sleep hormones at night. 

One way to expose yourself to natural light is to take a short walk or hike throughout the day, also helping you to achieve your daily movement goals. Remember, sitting near a window does not expose you to natural light the same way that direct sunlight does. Research suggests that a standard window blocks about 26% of UVA rays. While sitting indoors absorbing natural light is not a replacement for direct exposure, it’s still encouraged for improving sleep quality.

Common sun-protective measures, such as sunglasses and sunscreen, can actually inhibit your body from absorbing natural sunlight. Aim to spend at least 30 min to one hour a day in direct sunlight (without protection), which can help you improve your sleep quality. Spending more time than this (unprotected) may lead to skin damage from the sun or burning.

Natural light exposure helps encourage the production of Vitamin D, a hormone that is essential to quality sleep, mood, and enhanced immunity. If you do not get enough natural light in your daily routine, this simple biohacking technique can make a big difference in improving your sleep quality.

Sleeping in the Dark

Just as light is important for your body’s circadian rhythm, sleeping in the dark is equally as important. Having an entirely dark (or as dark as possible) environment helps enhance quality sleep, encouraging the brain to know it’s time to rest. By improving your sleep with a darker environment, you can experience many other biohacking results, such as improved cognitive function.

To help prepare your brain to sleep, aim to decrease your light exposure a couple of hours before bed. This can be done by dimming lights and stopping the use of electronics before sleep. Electronics expose your brain to light that can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. In addition, you can make your room’s environment darker by trying blackout curtains to drown out all possible light pollution. 

Blue Light Exposure

As mentioned above, blue light exposure before sleeping can stand in the way of quality sleep. Blue light is all around us – on every electronic device we own. Exposure to too much blue light can prevent your body from producing a hormone known as melatonin, which is crucial to good sleep. 

You may have seen “blue-light blocking” products on the market, such as blue-light blocker glasses or screen protectors. These products are designed to help you reduce your exposure to blue light, both during the day and at night. This simple, yet effective biohacking technique can help you reduce your exposure to blue light, which has been shown to cause eye damage in excessive quantities. 

Close-up of a woman wearing glasses with blue light from a screen reflected in the lenses.

The Importance of Light & Dark for Quality Sleep

Understanding the importance of light and dark is the first step to biohacking your sleep and improving how you feel, both day and night. Try a combination of these biotechniques targeted at light exposure can help you improve your sleep. 

Want to learn more ways to improve your sleep? Check out other biohacking techniques that impact sleep, such as sound, meditation, and more.