The invention that changed sleep patterns forever

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Meet the light bulb - formally known as the incandescent bulb. 

lightbulb copy

In 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the light bulb. Prior to this, man, animal and plant life were reliant on the sun and moon for light. Sunset marked the end of the day and almost all activity had to stop. It was difficult to travel, prepare food, work or do chores in darkness. Fire and candles helped to extend the day somewhat but most folk were clocking an average of 10 hours of sleep a night! They were falling asleep a few hours after sunset and waking up at sunrise. This makes sense granted that our brains are so intricately controlled by the ebb and flow of nature.

With the light bulb came the opportunity to do things after dark. Folk could read and write after dark. Travel could be done over night. Sleep started to diminish. Drastically.

The average amount of sleep post light bulb? A shocking 6 hours. We lost four hours of sleep and gained the ability to live during the night and sleep during the day (if we so wish). Our bodies have become disconnected from natural light and so it is difficult for our brains to shut down. It is usually as the sun is setting that we are just firing up - the TV, computer or stove - the rays of light telling our brain its the middle of the day. Furthermore, to improve security and comfort, out of choice or circumstance, many folk are trying to sleep with light bulbs ablaze. Night lights, street lamps and traffic can mean that you r body never experiences complete darkness as it should. The result is that a large proportion of the population battle to fall asleep at night and of course struggle to wake up the next morning!

So get a new respect for darkness and welcome it into your bedtime routine....

Unplug and switch off. Dine or bath by candlelight. Darken your room as much as possible. Block-out blinds and eye masks could be your new best friend.

Do what you need to do to take back some good sleep and get your brain firing with the sun.

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  1. […] the TV set has seen the average household watching  four hours of TV per day. (So you see whilst the light bulb gave us more time to do all kinds of things, television has seen us not only sleeping less, but […]

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