The sun is out and ready to play! During the warmer seasons we begin to shed layers of clothing and often hope to shed a few pounds too! Besides focusing on nutrition, fitness and stress management, do you ever consider your light exposure as a way to improve your health? We’re on our phones when we wake up, stare at the computer all day at an office with fluorescent lights, turn the TV on when we get home and end the night scrolling through our phones – day in and day out! This amount of blue light exposure is just as detrimental to your health as a poor diet and not moving your body!
Don’t believe us? A study in 1963 showed the negative health outcomes of fluorescent lighting. A school in Illinois added new, pink fluorescent lights and the teachers closed the curtains, blocking out all natural sunlight. The result? Researchers noticed an influx of leukemia cases. Then, once they changed classrooms by installing full spectrum light bulbs and opening the curtains to let the natural light in, leukemia rates dropped. Imagine that! Lighting does truly affect our health.
With ample amounts of sunshine in the coming weeks, we encourage you to test it out yourself! After a day in nature with real sunlight you may feel calmer, sleep better and overall be in an better mood.
Your Natural Rhythm.
When you look at sunlight, you may only see it as white. However, this light comes in multiple colors – a spectrum of yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet. These colors make up wavelengths, which are essential to the health of human beings. These wavelengths make up UV rays. This light reflects off the eye, travels to parts of the body and provides positive effects on all cells of the body and systems…more specifically, an area of the hypothalamus, which controls our internal clock or circadian rhythm.
Interrupting the Cycle.
As mentioned earlier, most of the day we are out of the sunlight and overexposed to blue light through electronics or poor lighting in buildings. The body perceives this as darkness. Therefore, the internal clock is thrown off and we see various effects including poor sleep, low immunity, eye strain, headaches, mood disorders and more.
Sun as Food.
By now, we hope you have a better understanding of the importance of unfiltered, natural sunlight. It’s important that you take into consideration how you can detox from artificial lighting and improve your natural light sources just as much as you focus on diet and nutrition!
To make it easier in this modern day society, you can try a few things to improve your lighting situation.
Step 1: Get outside first thing in the morning. Being outside in the morning is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm.
Step 2: Block the blue light. Block the blue light from screens with glasses that specifically target this or install an app on your phone and computer that do the same thing.
Step 3: Shut it down. An hour before bed avoid using electronics. Read a book, meditate or find something relaxing that will signal your body it’s time to sleep.
Step 4: Take Breaks. Take breaks throughout your day to reduce your exposure. Walk during lunch or try to work away from the computer if you can.
It will take time to develop new habits, but being aware is important, especially in our day and age with how much we are surrounded by electronics and artificial lighting!
Adopted From: LoRayne Haye, MS, CN with David J. Getoff, CTN, CCN, FAAIM