Save my curtains!
So I get that we should be trying to sleep in the dark. And I get that the presence of artificial light (alarm clock, smoke detector) is disruptive to sleep. And I understand blackout curtains in a city environment where there are street lights, headlights, etc. But I live in the country, and my three big double windows on two walls of my bedroom look out on pasture and woods. I have beautiful white lace curtains that let in the moonlight and the rays of the rising sun. To me this seems to be a more primal way to sleep/wake than an artificially darkened room. Wouldn't Grok sleep in the moonlight and rise with the sun? Or am I missing something?
I don't see anything wrong with letting the moon shine in. If you don't have problems sleeping soundly through the night, don't worry about it.
I think the blackout curtains are more for us urban Groks.
I prefer to have lighter curtains. SO likes room to be like a cave, it is hard for me to get out of bed when I can't even see any light. Unfortunately he wins this battle because we have an office building directly behind us that has super-bright exterior lights on all night. If you don't have artificial lights at night shining in, keep those pretty curtains!
Thanks, guys! I don't think I could get up in a completely dark room either -- mornings are not my happy time
That is how I love to sleep! Full moon nights are my favorite :-)
If your schedule + seasonal sunrise time are compatible then it's no problem. The main test is whether you stir naturally or feel jolted by the alarm. If it's the latter then keeping a mask on hand might be a good compromise.
Originally Posted by Madam
Sunrise and Sunset for U.S.A. – Kentucky – Louisville – coming days
You'd currently be keeping those times, if you did.
Not many people do -- although probably most did before the invention of electric light. In fact, they'd probably be up ready to milk cows and whatnot before dawn.
Still, if you're in bed most nights a hour or two before midnight it's probably not too much of a problem. The important thing is not to have a lot of light shining in your eyes for some while before you go to bed. Best is table lamps rather than ceiling lights and red bulbs rather than white. Worst of all are TVs, videos, and computer screens (although you can mitigate that with the program f.lux). With those you have light balanced for daylight -- blue-light -- shining directly into your eyes. It mucks up your biochemistry, which is dependent on light-sensitive hormones. More on light colour here:
Sleeping Away Cancer - Caveman Doctor
If you were living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle you might get up in the night and spend some time chatting and socializing -- but if you did the only light would be a fire, which is red light. As a modern person if you find you need to get up in the night, best to use a torch with a red filter fitted, so as not to set off the wrong hormonal cascades and make it harder for yourself to get back to sleep.
Anyway ... if you're so far out in the country that there's no light-pollution and if you are getting enough sleep I'd doubt your curtains are a problem. You should be getting around eight hours sleep a night -- and anything up to ten in winter. That seems to be normal. It's sometimes said that some people need less, but experiments seem to show that even people who confidently state that this is true of them will sleep for eight hours or more if put in a really dark environment. It would seem that the light is disturbing their sleep and they're not even aware of it.
Some people have claimed that somewhat leaky curtains are said to be best for women (provided there's no light pollution) because it's claimed that the waxing and waning of the moon helps regulate their cycle. I don't know whether there's any definite proof of that, however.
I think I would go by whether you're getting enough sleep. If you're not getting at least eight hours a night, your room could be too light. If you are, I'd take it that the conditions are likely fine.
I think I myself must get enough, because (1) I tend to have a short quiet wakeful period in the night -- something that used to be true of most people in the past -- and (2) because I tend to wake some while before the alarm goes off. Neither of those would be true if I wasn't getting enough sleep.
It may be worth adding that you don't have to get rid of the curtains, even if you find when assessing your sleep that you may not be getting quite enough and that they may be the reason. it's possible to buy pretty thick blackout curtain-liners. You don't even have to stitch them in: you can just hang 'em behind the curtains. If necessary, that would keep out a bit more light while still allowing some light to spill over the top of the curtains and around their edges.
But maybe everything is fine just as it is. I would go by how much sleep you're currently getting.
Originally Posted by Lewis
Off topic --
I've sometimes wondered whether Lady Thatcher damaged her health through not taking enough sleep. She apparently used to take about four hours:
margaret thatcher sleep - Google Search
I guess she thought she had too much important work to do. It seems not unusual with these driven personalities. Bill Clinton was the same. (And maybe there's a link here to Clinton's over-consumption of carbohydrates and obesity: subjects who've been deprived of sleep in clinical setting have been found to go insulin-resistant pretty quickly and to begin to crave carbohydrate.)
Anyway, Margaret Thatcher was obviously a highly intelligent (if somewhat narrow) woman and a very forceful character. But later in life she developed dementia and became a dipsomaniac. You have to wonder if that was the ultimate result of all that lost sleep. Queen Elizabeth II, who is the same age, seems perfectly sprightly and with-it, despite a demanding schedule -- but then she probably takes some sleep.
Great links, Lewis! And the observations about Margaret Thatcher and the Queen are very interesting. It makes me wonder what other correlations could be drawn between high-profile figures with demanding schedules and certain illnesses. Diet, stress (obviously), social/downtime.
And no, I don't get enough sleep. But that's because I have little kids who all take turns getting up in the middle of the night. (I swear, they must have secret meetings to conspire against me.) So blackout curtains won't help that! Most mornings I'm up with the sun!
And now, goodnight!