Secrets of Sleep

15 March 2019

Sleep is something that we all recognise as being a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and routine – and many of us would admit that we probably don’t get enough of it. But with sleep being the time when our mind and body are both able to rest and promote optimum healing, it follows that those few hours a night really are worth their weight in gold.

So, what is it about sleep that makes it so hard for many of us to come by? Why is it that people struggle with insomnia and a lack of sleep – and more importantly, what can be done to overcome these challenges?

In this article, our team of experts at MedicAlert UK have rounded up some of the best evidence and most important information about sleep, so that we can share with you the secrets you need to know about sleep. 

The importance of sleep

It sounds dramatic to say that your quality of sleep literally impacts every aspect of your being, from your productivity to your appearance, mood, weight, and more, but it’s true.
Studies not only suggest but prove that sleep is what arms your body to fight against disease and illness, boosting your natural immunity and giving your skin that coveted glow that can never quite be replicated no matter how many products you try. Sleep is what empowers your body to fix itself and to present its very best self – in order to optimise your time spent in the comfort of your own bed, you need to understand what affects your sleep.

What affects the quality of our sleep?

It will come as no surprise to you that your sleep can be impacted by external conditions, including temperature, sound, and the permeation of light within your bedroom or sleeping quarters. While blackout blinds certainly help to ward off unwanted light from outside, including sunlight and street lamps, perhaps most damaging of all is the artificial light we get from our phones, screens, and personal devices.

Insight from Richard Stevens from the University of Connecticut suggests that this artificial light, also known in the sleep industry as blue light, doesn’t just have an effect on your ability to sleep peacefully but can also cause lasting damage to your health. Increasing amounts of evidence suggest that frequently interrupted sleep is causing long term damage to the health of people from all walks of life and all over the world – notably increasing the risk of diseases which include type 2 diabetes.

Before we consider how much light is too much light and share the secrets to maximising sleep and avoiding these conditions from worsening, we need to understand which lights impact sleep and why.

Do outdoor artificial lights impact sleep?

Lights don’t just disturb the body when you’re already asleep, they can also contribute towards keeping you awake for longer by causing too much stimulation in your brain at a time when you should be resting. Blue light is particularly problematic, cited as causing twice as much damage to those trying to sleep. As such, it is recommended that you stop looking at screens at least two, maybe even three, hours before trying to sleep.

This can be made even worse if you suffer from a lack of access to natural daylight during waking hours – with certain lifestyles and professions suffering worse than others. The fact is that your natural body clock has been conditioned to expect certain types of light at set times, so anything outside of this norm upsets the core circadian rhythm in the body.
This, in turn, causes a vicious cycle of damage to your natural sleep cycle, with the upset in the circadian rhythm leading to a disruption in the production of melatonin, and long term damage to your ability to sleep via a normal sleep and waking pattern.
To cut a long story short, when you allow artificial light to impact your sleep quality, and when various lifestyle factors impact your exposure to natural day light thus creating an imbalance in your body’s access to natural and artificial light, it becomes even harder to enjoy restful sleep – making the entire cycle and situation worse.

How much light is too much light?

This becomes less about too much light, and more about access and exposure to the right kind of light versus the wrong kind of light, when you start considering light and the impact it has on sleep.
For experts like Richard Stevens from the University of Connecticut, it is too much exposure to artificial light, and the impact that this has on circadian rhythms, which is the most important – with advice from organisations like ours needing to highlight both the importance of sleep and what members can do to not only maximise their sleep but optimise it as well.

Overcoming external challenges and optimising your own sleep pattern

The secrets to a good night’s sleep, and thus the best chance to maximising your health and wellbeing, lie in routine, and in working out the best environment for you to really relax in.

With so many health benefits directly associated with and linked to the quality of sleep that you get, it follows that here at MedicAlert we want to help you optimise your time at rest – with our team working with experts from and other organisations to share the following tips and secrets for a good sleep.
  1. Get your bedroom to the right temperature. It’s tempting to hike the temperature and turn on the heaters in your bedroom to create a cosy environment, however the optimum temperature for sleep is actually fairly cool – sitting at 18 degrees Celsius.
  2. Put your phone and iPad down at least two hours before bed – and if you want to indulge in some light entertainment, pick up a book instead of switching on the TV. The more you can do to cut out artificial light before bed, the better.
  3. Don’t drink any caffeine close to bedtime – that includes tea!
  4. Quality sleep is crucial, not only for maximising your health and body’s natural ability to heal itself, but also when it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. When you’re tired, you are more likely to reach for snacks and make unhealthy food choices – and your body is more likely to burn lean muscle mass rather than fat stores.
  5. Once you’ve got a better handle on your sleep pattern, try and phase out your need for an alarm. This will not be possible for / will not work for everyone, however the sudden jolt that your body gets when the alarm goes off can cause stress responses and raise your blood pressure – all of which contribute towards health risks in the future.

MedicAlert and our work to improve the nation’s sleeping patterns

Here at MedicAlert, we believe that sleep doesn’t just make for a better day – it helps to keep us safe, healthy, and able to respond more productively and efficiently if and when something does go wrong. Through healthy sleep, we protect our body and mind and invest in our own health – all things that MedicAlert UK prioritises as part of our work with members from all walks of life.
Check out our blog for more information on how we help to keep our community safe, and to benefit from more advice and information articles like this. Trust us when we say your health is not something you should take lightly – and if sleep can help you to avoid conditions like type 2 diabetes and other diseases, then it’s worth taking seriously. 

Amazing Breakthrough!

Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?

Imagine this advertising; would it capture your attention? I know it captured mine.

Or let’s put it the other way around: Sleeping less than eight hours per night makes you unhappy, less attractive, less intelligent, more hungry, out of shape, less fertile and very vulnerable. It increases your chances of dying in a car accident and also makes it more likely that you’ll suffer from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

sleep is good for your health


If you enjoyed our articles on the important argument of sleep and you’re looking for a great book, we warmly recommend you read ‘Why We Sleep’ by Dr. Matthew Walker. It is very comprehensive and practical, helping you understand and optimise your sleep habits to improve your health. However, it might keep you hooked, so please do not stay up late at night to read it!

So… why is MedicAlert talking about sleep?

Whilst most MedicAlert members won’t find that all, if any, of their health and medical requirements are completed resolved by sleep, it is clear from the above that so many benefits can be driven by good quality sleep and a regular sleep routine. These benefits can help to reduce the burden of many medical conditions on the body and the mind, as well as better equiping the body for recovery.

However, what is also clear is that whilst good sleep reduces stress levels, reduced stress levels in turn improve sleep quality. This is where MedicAlert comes in!

Whilst our primary aim is to keep people safe in emergencies, hundreds of our members get in touch every year to tell us how the service has provided them with peace of mind, a sense of security and increased confidence. There’s no doubt they are sleeping better at night.

If you want to know more about our service, click below or get in touch today on 01908 951 045.


Click below to receive the latest MedicAlert news, articles and offers directly to your inbox


*Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2

This article was last reviewed on 17-03-2021

Article Categories
Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Google  

Your browser session was modified and your impersonation status has changed.

Please click below to continue.


Your login session has expired on this device.

Please click below to continue.

Sign in