Unit 1 Taking Charge of Your Health and Wellness Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. 90 Control Exposure to Light As you learned earlier in this chapter, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Light affects the body’s production of melatonin. When it is dark, your body produces more melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. When it is light, your body produces less melatonin, which leads you to feel more awake and alert. Exposure to sunlight in the morning and throughout the day regulates your body’s biological clock and helps you feel more active. Many aspects of modern life can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin and your sleep-wake cycle. For example, spending time in a school or home that does not let in natural light can make you feel sleepier during the day. If you spend the evening exposed to bright lights from a television or computer screen, your body may produce less melatonin, which makes it harder to feel sleepy. Try natural methods of regulating your sleep schedule. The following are strategies you can use: Spend time outside during the day whenever possible. Eat lunch outside or go for a walk in the late afternoon. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to increase the amount of natural light in your room. Move your desk or chair near a window. Minimize the time you spend in front of a television or computer screen at the end of the day. Avoid reading from an electronic device that exposes you to extra light just before you go to bed. Reading a physical book with a bedside lamp exposes your body to less light, which makes falling asleep easier. Use a night-light in the bathroom to avoid turning on a bright light in the middle of the night. When you wake up, open the blinds or curtains and turn on bright lights to jump-start your body’s clock and help you feel more awake and alert. Lesson 3.3 Review 1. True or false. Exercising for 20–30 minutes late in the evening can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. 2. People should avoid drinks and foods with _____ near bedtime. 3. Give two examples of strategies you can use to relax before bedtime. 4. When does the body produce more melatonin? 5. Critical thinking. How can you change your body’s sleep-wake schedule in a healthy way (for example, over school breaks)? Create an artistic representation of an ideal sleeping situation for you. Include factors such as environment, before bed behaviors, and sleep schedule. Then, make a list of fi ve things you can do each day or evening to achieve ideal sleep at night. Discuss your list with a partner. Hands-On Activity Hands-On Activity
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