We see cycles all around us. The moon goes through its phases which also influences the transition of the tides. The calendar year witnesses the progression through the 4 seasons. Spring brings new life only to see it wither away as winter approaches. Many animals go into hibernation each winter, where their metabolisms drop so low that they do not even need to evacuate any waste. Women know that there is a monthly cycle during their fertile years where the uterine lining is shed if fertilization does not take place. Then there is the solar cycle. That most extravagant golden orb that projects its vibrant glow onto our skins, shows up and then retreats later on each day.
Even before our species ever set foot to this Earth, the sun illuminated its surface day-in and day-out. We have evolved to be diurnal creatures that can observe certain wavelengths of light as color. These colors, in turn, notify our nervous systems about the time of day and influence our metabolisms accordingly. In a nutshell, this is the circadian rhythm of Homo Sapiens. The sunrise signals that it is time to awaken and go out in search of food, a mate, or new shelter. Then, the sun fades away which signals that it is time to rest and recover from the day’s activity. Let’s break down how this works a little bit further.
When sunlight reaches our eyes, the blue light wavelength stimulates a cascade of events that releases cortisol, endorphins, and melanin which protects us from UV damage. Essentially, those rays are preparing us for the day and resetting our circadian rhythm. This is a key point to remember. Everyone should regularly get outside when they first get up or when the sun first peaks over the horizon to keep us tuned to the cosmos’s natural cycle. You can also purchase a full-spectrum light lamp that mimics the sun if your living situation is not ideal. Many hormonal imbalances and blood sugar dysregulation can be traced back to a disrupted circadian rhythm so make it a habit to get outside, without sunglasses on, and embrace your newfound relationship with the sun. Probably a good time to reacquaint with the Earth too, so take those shoes off!
Now its starting to make sense why all those goofy cats are rocking their blue blockers at night. Yes, I ponied up a few extra bucks for a chic pair of blue blocking shades. Once, the sun sets in the evening, we really want to limit our exposure to blue light, since it will send the wrong signal and confuse our internal clocks. Enter our good friend melatonin. Contrary to popular belief, melatonin is not exactly the sleep hormone, even though its activity corresponds with the night. Melatonin counters the effects of cortisol from the day and responds to lower levels of blue light from the sun. It makes sense for melatonin to be a powerful antioxidant since sleep is the perfect time for recovery and repair. Growth hormone is also highest while we slumber so my athletes trying to pack on the muscle, be sure to take note of that.
So, here is my general prescription for circadian rhythm disruption
1. Upon rising, step outside & allow indirect light to hit your eyes for at least 10 minutes (do not look directly at it unless you are familiar with proper sun gazing practices).
2. Get at least 30 minutes of full-body sun exposure during the day (darker skin tones will require more to achieve benefits).
3. Put on your blue blockers once the sun sets if you must be on any devices.
4. Cover most of your skin if there will be bright lights on at night since your skin has photoreceptors too.
5. Shut off all devices & bright lights 60 minutes prior to bed. Longer the better but I won’t push my luck here.
Perform 10-15 minutes of breathwork or meditation in the dark to prepare
If you would like assistance on your health journey and are fed up with the conventional medical model, then contact our office at (727) 789-4020 and Janine will get you all set up for your initial consultation. I look forward to meeting you and helping you to be your best self. We dedicate as much time as needed to get you back on track.