Use Natural light as medicine


Director of Life Rocks

Cover Image for Use Natural light as medicine
·5 min read

Light is medicine. People who practice proper use of lighting in their life, are experiencing massive benefits to their mood, energy, hormones, sleep and their connection to nature. Knowing how light impacts our health, mood, hormones and literally every aspect of our life – we cannot return to the darkness of “not knowing” – and so it is that when we accept how light impacts us, our lives will change forever. Have you ever wondered why some lighting is upsetting to look at? Why some lighting makes you cringe? Whilst other lighting may make you feel warm and calm? There is a science behind these feelings, and once we learn the science – we can use it to enhance our lives, boost our physiology and create better lifestyles. Until we learn the science, we may be using light in ways that harm us – so keep listening on to prep yourself against the pitfalls of modern lighting. I want you to imagine a romantic dinner . . . under the glow of fluorescent tubes. It doesn’t work, does it? Something about the sterile, alert, radiance of the fluoro tubes is anti-romance. The cold anxiety associated with this type of lighting that is so familiar to offices, hospitals, public bathrooms and warehouses, is not just in your head. Candlelight, on the other hand, evokes comfort, communion, warmth and homeliness – and these feelings aren’t just in your head either. The source of these apparently subjective emotions are rooted in the sensory and hormonal systems of our body and in how our body responds to light. So, let's find out how the body responds to light: The human body responds most sensitively – to blue light.
Blue light colour increases alertness and “daytime” hormones of cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, etc. Blue light in nature peaks during the middle of the day, increasing the hormones of alertness, so during peak daytime, this is the time for peak activity – or so our hormones say. While blue light can positively create alertness, not all blue light is equal, and there are certain qualities of light that emanate from modern lighting that are purely harmful. Have you ever noticed the flicker in fluorescent tubes? This flicker rate is irritating to the nervous system, and it is present in LEDs also, yet we cannot perceive this flicker because it is happening so fast. Even though we may not be able to detect the flicker rate of our LCD screen or LED energy-saving bulbs, the flicker rate is still occurring –and studies have shown this flickering increases negative arousal of the nervous system, eye strain, poor work performance and headaches - all of these symptoms and more have been linked to blue and white, flickering, modern lighting. When blue light is absent from our lighting, like in the case of firelight – the absence of blue light allows our “nighttime” hormones of rest and relaxation to increase. An increase of melatonin, GABA and other regenerative hormones is stimulated by the deficit in blue light, and this is how we get a great and restful sleep. So let's maximise the benefits of light through the following steps: Step one - Become aware of the fact that blue light, especially from devices and most modern lighting, will increase stress hormones, disrupt sleep cycles, increase eye strain, cause headaches, reduce performance, decrease memory, reduce deep sleep, create blood sugar issues and increase weight gain. Step two - Work on reducing the impact of blue light in environments that you control. Use red light bulbs for the bedrooms. Change your overhead daytime lighting to full spectrum LEDs that do not flicker and ditch the flickering energy-saving globes. Put blue light filters on your devices and put away your screens a couple of hours before bed to maximise your restful hormones. Step 3 - In environments where you cannot control the lighting, get some blue blocker glasses. Step 4 – Get outside early in the day and expose yourself to bright light early on - this will boost daytime hormones and help you kickstart the day. As the day comes to a close, reduce exposure to bright light and use warm red lighting instead to wind you down. After implementing these steps, be prepared to see the world in a whole new light. REF: - The horrors of working under LEDs and how you can avoid them - The Effects of Red and Blue Lights on Circadian Variations in Cortisol, Alpha Amylase, and Melatonin Morning and Evening Blue-Enriched Light Exposure Alters Metabolic Function in Normal Weight Adults -