To Sleep Better at Night, Get More of This During the Day
Believe it or not, if you want to sleep better at night, get outside as much as possible during the day.
Sunlight and being outdoors, especially in the morning, helps us sleep better at night.
It is thought that sunlight exposure outdoors, not through a window, is best if we want to increase our ability to have high quality sleep that night.
We also know that sunlight helps set our circadian clocks, which can have a big influence on cancer rates. 
If you can’t get outside, there are a few “hacks” you can use, but ideally, find a way to get outside during the morning and afternoon.
Our eyes and skin have photo and thermal receptors that respond to sunlight. It is thought that this light, both the UV and infrared, signals our body to maintain a state of high health.
Indoor lighting is often too dim, does not provide any infrared heat (think LEDs and Flourescents), and may be the wrong spectrum for what our bodies need.
Even natural lighting coming from a window does not include the full spectrum of light received outside due to the glass filtering out some of the UVB light.
It Comes Down to Lux
Lux is a measure of the brightness of light within a certain area.
The brighter the light, the higher the Lux reading.
Bright daytime light registers at about 120,000 Lux.
Indoor lighting measures about 50-80 Lux.
A cloudy day will measure about 1,000 Lux outside.
So, even on a cloudy day, it’s a good idea to get outside and get some natural light exposure.
The research shows that bright light exposure during the day sets us up for better sleep at night. 
Bright light exposure in the daytime helps tell our bodies that it’s daytime. Being indoors without exposure to bright light or outdoor light can mess up our circadian rhythm because the body is not able to properly adjust hormone levels for the proper time of day. This leads to less overall sleep at night.
Tools for the Office Worker
It’s totally unfortunate, but many of us have to work inside of offices all day long.
In some cases it is not easy or possible to get outside during the day.
Over the last 10 years, I have worked to set up my life up to ensure I get outside time nearly every single day. I work from home, and this makes a huge difference in my health.
However, I do have to travel back to headquarters for work and also travel for conferences. Often that travel comes with days where I am booked solid in meetings without any breaks 8-5.
Sometimes I am in a room with awul fluorescent lights and no windows with hardly any room to move around. I dread these days. Why are we still booking meetings in such poorly ventilated, windowless hotel conference rooms anyway?
Here are a few of the tools I use at home and work to get some additional light exposure during the morning and early afternoon when I can’t get outside or when it’s cloudy and cold (northern winters).
The Human Charger – this is device I wear in my ears, like listening to an iPOD. It shines blue-white light directly into my brain, or so I’m told. Check out this blog post by Heather from Get Fit Go Figure for details, or this one by Ben Greenfield. Watch our video on part 1 of the Human Charger Experience.
Sunlight Lamp – A Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder lamp provides bright light right on my desktop. Said to help with seasonal depression, I use this on my desk once in a while when it’s cloudy, cold, and I’m stuck inside. It’s not my favorite thing to use, but it’s said to be effective. I am not totally convinced, but still use it a couple times a week for a half hour each time.
Halogen Work Lights – Dave Asprey from the Bulletproof Executive claims these 500-watt halogen worklights make a huge difference in feeling good during cold, cloudy winter days. I have not experimented with these much, but it’s said they work wonders. You can read his article here.
Actual Sun from being outdoors -This is the best hack of all. Even in winter, do your best to get outdoors in the morning and afternoon when it’s light out.
Get Out There and Soak it Up
The sun is your friend. Adequate exposure to the sun is healthy.
Find a way to get outside and take a walk. If you can, find a space outside that has wifi access and take your work outside. Outdoor air is 5x less polluted than most indoor air.
Your body will thank you for the fresh air and sunshine, and you’ll probably sleep better that night too!