As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming solar eclipse scheduled for April 8, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reminds Americans of the important role light plays in our day-to-day lives. From the brightness of the morning sun to the comfort of soft lighting in the evening, it shapes our daily experiences, routines and well-being.

For a few minutes during the eclipse, the moon will cover the sun and the earth may feel a little out of whack. You’ll likely feel the temperature drop or the wind pick up, be able to see planets and stars in the middle of the day, and with the proper eyewear, be able to look at the sun. The sudden darkness can also confuse diurnal animals, leading them to behave as if it were nighttime. Birds may roost, insects may start chirping, and nocturnal animals may become active.

“The eclipse is a reminder that sunlight and darkness play an important role in regulating behavior, health and everyday routines on earth,” stated Dr. James A. Rowley, president of the AASM. “But it can also remind us how the environment directly impacts our sleep/wake cycle.”

Light and darkness are the most powerful timing cues for alertness and sleepiness in the body. It tells us when to wake up and when it’s time to wind down by regulating hormones, like melatonin, based on our circadian rhythm. The upcoming eclipse will create a startling disruption to the daily pattern of light and darkness on earth, which can also happen when we experience physical or psychological disruptions. Lifestyle choices and events — like traveling across time zones, experiencing erratic wake times, heavy caffeine consumption and traumatic events — can act like an “eclipse” for our sleep, disrupting our daily rhythm and making it harder for us to maintain healthy sleep hygiene.

“Just as our environment has a natural, rhythmic timing of sunrise and sunset, we sleep best when we maintain a consistent, daily rhythm by waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day,” continued Rowley. “Take a moment to soke in this phenomenon, and then reflect on how you can achieve healthier, more consistent sleep in the days to come.”

For more information about healthy sleep visit

About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the AASM advances sleep care and enhances sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 12,000 accredited sleep centers and individuals, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who care for patients with sleep disorders. As the leader in the sleep field, the AASM sets standards and promotes excellence in sleep medicine health care, education, and research.