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Boost Your Brainpower With One Simple Bedtime Routine

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If your thinking feels too cloudy and your mood is slipping, there’s an easy action you can take right before bed that should help your brain recover its diminished power.

Merely turn the lights down in the house and bedroom in the evening before bedtime. A study at Johns Hopkins shows that bright light at night is linked to depression and learning problems. And these difficulties are not caused by lack of sleep. The main factor can be bright light from light bulbs, computers and iPads.

“Basically, what we found is that chronic exposure to bright light — even the kind of light you experience in your own living room at home or in the workplace at night if you are a shift worker — elevates levels of a certain stress hormone in the body, which results in depression and lowers cognitive function,” says researcher Samer Hattar, a biology professor in the Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

According to Hattar, the results indicate that we should be wary of the kind of prolonged, regular exposure to bright light at night that is routine in our lives, because it may be having a negative effect on our mood and ability to learn: “I’m not saying we have to sit in complete darkness at night, but I do recommend that we should switch on fewer lamps, and stick to less-intense light bulbs….”

Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.

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