Why Should You Brush in the Dark?

toothbrushIt’s officially March and you know what that means – springtime is just around the corner! With that being said New York, NY dental implant provider Dr. Gottesman, along with the rest of his staff here at Perio NYC, cannot wait for the weather to warm up and the earth to wake up from its long winter nap.

Speaking of naps, recently we came across some rather interesting research regarding dental hygiene routines and how they might be affecting your ability to fall asleep at night, or at least how fast you are able to fall asleep.

According to a recent study being performed by Dr. Russel Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University, something you might be doing at night while brushing your teeth might also be keeping you awake. Since it seems like sleep is something many people struggle to get enough of, we thought we’d write an article about Prof. Foster’s findings in the hope that they might help you fall asleep faster tonight.

Let’s take a closer look.

In A World of Constant Stimulation

Look around you – wherever you are reading this – right now. How many bright lights, loud noises, and electronic screens f any type are you near? Unless you are deep in a state park, chances are you are mere feet away from several. Have you ever wondered what this kind of affect this kind of constant stimulation has on the human mind?

Well, stimulation is the key word here. It all has to do with the fact that millions of years ago our ancestors evolved to recognize bright light as a signal to be awake, alert and searching for food. Even though our early ancestors eventually evolved into a species capable of using tools and weapons, for many millennia we were still scavengers. However, we did not have the gift of heightened senses that allowed us to see or navigate in the dark. This meant that daytime meant awake time.

How This Affects Us Today

In the modern world humans no longer have to search for their own food – unless you are searching through your own refrigerator for something. However, human technology evolves at a much faster rate than human biology. When biology evolves certain traits, they are the results of millions of years’ worth of conditioning. Those changes become seemingly hardwired into our very DNA. Changes like these cannot be made within the couple hundred years it took the human race do discover and harness electricity.

It is this fact that Prof. Foster is basing his Oxford study on. ““Sleep is the single most important behavior that we do. Across our lifespans 36 percent of our life will be spent sleeping,” Foster said following a lecture on sleep at The Royal Society in London. “Often people will turn their lights down at night which helps to get the body ready for sleep, but then they will go and brush their teeth and turn their bathroom light on. That is very disrupting. I often think someone should invent a bathroom mirror light which has a different setting for night-time.”

Who would have thought that brushing your teeth in the dark might help you fall asleep faster? If you think about it, though, it all kind of makes sense. Just be careful not to trip over anything.

Until next time readers, keep smiling.


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