Humans need approximately eight hours of sleep but according to Myriam Juda, an adjunct professor in the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Laboratory at Simon Fraser University, most of us are not getting that amount, especially during workdays.
“Most of us are waking up with an alarm clock so we are interrupting natural sleep cycles,” she says. An overall move towards more flexible schedules, like the ones many people are experiencing working from home during this pandemic, could help improve social jet lag, and as a result improve health and well-being.
For certain groups of people like shift workers and those with circadian rhythm disorders, using light to train their circadian clocks onto a better schedule may be unrealistic, but for the rest of us Juda has some recommendations.
Try and get two hours of outdoor light exposure every day, even if it’s cloudy. Outdoor light is hundreds of times more intense than light in a bright indoor space.
Morning light is better. Juda recommends getting outside within one or two hours of your natural wake up time and says that when it comes to regulating your circadian clock, 10 minutes of morning light is like the equivalent of four, five, or six hours of afternoon light.