If you wake up at different times or sleep at different times it’s going to be super hard to optimise your health.
That’s just the harsh truth in the world we live in nowadays, you see your whole system is regulating around the rise and fall of the sun, it’s ‘circadian rhythm’ and as the seasons change we start to push our body into a different place more and more unnatural depending on how much further north or south of the equator you are
I see so many people living their lives with false exposure to light and it’s what I would truly call a pandemic if I was to be totally honest, one of the biggest reasons people don’t have the health they want and one reason we see so much more anxiety, depression, mental health issues and even obesity than we did even so much as a couple generations ago.
When we look at the things which are regulated by our body and it’s exposure to daylight it is pretty obvious how important this is, things such as –
- Your digestion gets regulated by the rise and fall of the sun
- Your hormonal production is massively impacts
- The way your brain functions
- The amount of energy your body produces
- How your body handles stress
- Even your body fat levels are impacted by it due to multiple different pathways at play
If you aren’t taking your daily light exposure seriously you will soon run into brick walls with your health, it will start to get pretty frustrating, believe me, I know – I remember even working the shifts of a fitness instructor my health was nowhere near where it should be and it is somewhat ironic that I was helping the health of many individuals through my occupation whilst hitting my own health the most, think about doctors and the shifts they work, how much all that impacts their own health.
You see when we are having fake light we get exposed to something called ‘blue light’ which receptors within our eyes mistake for sunlight. In the after we start to lower our stress hormone cortisol and as the evening progresses over a period of around 5 hours we should increase our sleep hormone melatonin with it maximising around 10-11pm. But, the problem arises when we are on screens late at night, or exposed to bright lights at work, stress and even working out too late when the body starts to wake up again, thus breaking the pattern of lowering cortisol and instead raising it, meaning we have to go through this all again over 5-6 hours to boost melatonin meaning we then have a detrimental impact on our sleep, you can start to see how much light impacts our health right?
There are even studies done on mice changing their body clock using false light similar to the way shift workers would be exposed to it and after 3 weeks their immune system was severely impaired and the mice started to get hit with severe infections which, when left untreated, actually led to mice passing away, 3 weeks, it doesn’t take much to impact our immune system in a negative way – again, these studies were done on mice but when you look at the comparisons of how their immune system is like the human immune system it crosses over drastically to our own health.
Also studies have shown that even one night of shift work or altered sleep can throw off our cognitive function for an entire week – that one stat worries me the most myself. Imagine that, if you have irregular shift patterns, or maybe you are going out later for social gatherings exposed to light and then getting in later if the study shows just one night impacting your body and how it works, what does multiple nights to – have you noticed changes in the way your body functions after a pattern of shifts or changing time zones?
Even staying up a couple hours later at the weekend then delaying your meal times has been shown to impact your body the same amount as flying from LA to NYC. And even more so, every hour you do fly, if you are flying that is, your body takes around a whole day per hour of time to adjust, in some people even two days per hour. This has lead to the term being thrown around of ‘social jet lag’ – people being jet lagged just from social events even without the travel being thrown into the mix.
Good news is it’s a quick fix for most people – if you take action now.
These are three of the steps I would look to implement if you are struggling with your health.
- Sleep and wake at roughly the same time every day in order to set yourself up for success and get your body used to how it is supposed to function – this is the majority of the time so if you have a gathering or an event once a month or every few weeks enjoy it and get back waking the same time afterward.
- Get outside and increase your exposure to sunlight as close to waking as possible. Even in the wintertime in places without lots of sunlight such as the UK it has been shown you will still benefit from the light exposure, even through windows this may potentially not be enough – You can also get exposure from a Seasonal Affectional Disorder Lamp (SAD Lamp, Sunbox) as long as it puts out light at 10,000 LUX.
- Eat around the same time each morning and don’t have caffeine as soon as you wake up, especially not on an empty stomach. Your body will start to produce the enzymes to break the food down if you are regular with meal times and even things such as insulin to help shuttle the glucose into the cells where it is needed, basically the body loves regularity.
With these three steps consistent you will start to set yourself up for success, of course, if you want some more things to try or want to look further into how I can help you fully optimise your health and get ahead once and for all you know where I am – simple hit ‘Let’s Talk’ and we will sort a time to get on a call
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