Learning Objectives - Sleep
We heal while we sleep, we grow while we sleep, our bodies need sleep to regenerate ourselves. We are healing both our bodies and our minds.
Here are some reasons why you cannot sleep, sleep disorders, circadian system, light entrainment.
How light affects your sleep?
All living beings have a natural relationship with light. We have evolved to live in a bright day and dark night. During the daylight hours our bodies release chemicals to keep up awake and and dusk stimulate the release of ones to make us sleepy. This connection to light in our Circadian System is called Light Entrainment.
Light can prevent or delay sleep depending on the color. Exposure to blue white light when you wake in the night, can keep you awake, use amber or red nightlights. For some night light ideas visit my Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/trishodenthal/beautiful-night-lights/
What sleep ritual is yours?
What you can do to help you sleep? Reading, Journaling, TV, Music, Mantras, Prayers, Breathing, Yoga, Warm Dim Lighting, Darkness; your choice, find your way for peaceful sleep.
As someone who will wake mid sleep, I have employed all of these. The goal is enough tools in your sleepy toolbox to find a way to begin or return to sleep.
Our circadian System helps us sleep, and when disturbed by exposure to blue white light, we produce a hormone called Serotonin. At night, our bodies are signaled to go to sleep by the production of Melatonin. Blue white light is found naturally during mid-day sunshine; therfore, when we see it at night it wakes us up. It takes up to two hours for us to produce Melatonin and begin or go back to sleep.
Morning Light Exposure
Morning Light, primarily blue-wavelength light, reduces morning drowsiness. Light to the eyes is important for the entrainment (the synchronization with light days and dark nights) and a healthy circadian rhythm.
Exposure to sunlight in the morning leads to earlier melatonin onset in the evening and makes it easier to fall asleep. Bright morning light has been shown to be effective against insomnia, premenstrual syndrome and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
  See SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder page for SAD benefits of morning light exposure.
Why is 8 hours of sleep important?
If you look at the hours between light and dark in the sky, humans evolved under, we can see that the 'average' is 8 hours of each.
Does this include the hour or so at sunrise and sunset?
This magical time before and after light represents the transition between dark and light.
Sleep Debt is the term applied to the loss of sleep and how it affects your body. You have two weeks to make up missed sleep, after that it will affect your health. Teenagers are notorious for sleeping long hours on weekends, often making up for lost sleep during the week. As growing young adults, teenagers can need up to 10 hours of sleep a night.
REM - Rapid Eye Movement
Do our eyes move while we sleep?
According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, "The eye movements are not actually scanning your dream - they're reorienting your visual thoughts," Prof Horne told BBC News. 
For the first time, scientists have recorded from individual brain cells during the dreaming phase of sleep. After each rapid eye movement (REM) they recorded bursts of activity that match what happens when we are awake and we see - or imagine - a new image. They suggest that these well-known flickering movements accompany a "change of scene" in our dreams. 
Dreaming & Second Sleep
Sleep Gap is the time in the middle of the night when many wake and cannot sleep. Some learn that this is normal for them. Here is an article written by dream expert, Jane Carleton. DREAMING and Second Sleep
Reduce your light pollution to get better sleep and help wildlife
Published on: November 13, 2016 By Edmonton and Area Land Trust: http://edmontonjournal.com/health/family-child/reduce-your-light-pollution-to-get-better-sleep-and-help-wildlife
Visit our Dark Sky pages for more information