Open YOUR Eyes to Light Nutrition

Are you aware that we can experience ultimate wellbeing just by harnessing the power of light? And on the other side of the coin, artificial light can contribute to sleep problems, weight gain, increased aging and stress.

According to my podcast guest Roudy Nassif, who is the founder of the world’s first circadian technology system, one of the problems in today’s modern world is that people are exposed to very little healthy light during the day and are over exposed to harmful artificial light from LED bulbs, screens and devices. This disrupts the body’s wake/sleep cycle and confuses the brain about the time of the day. Night time exposure to artificial light destroys melatonin production, the sleep hormone, and over stimulates cortisol, the stress hormone. This inhibits deep repair and rejuvenation at night. The quality of light that we are exposed to will determine the quality of our sleep, mood, productivity, focus and wellbeing. Light nutrition is definitely another type of nutrition that many of us are not even aware of.

Listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #4 to know the 12 Essential Nutrients & Foods For Boosting Your Mental Health.

What Is Our Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian comes from the Latin word “Circa”, which means approximately a day or 24 hours. And this rhythm exists in all plants, animals, and humans. Circadian rhythm is the body’s biological clock programmed to guide us to eat and sleep at the right time throughout a 24-hour period. This biological clock is governed by light and darkness. It is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain which translates light into information that coordinates all bodily functions and patterns. Getting exposed to the light frequencies emitted from ultraviolet, violet and blue light in the morning is an important signal to our brain to wake up, inhibiting our melatonin production and increasing our cortisol, which makes us feel alert. When the sun sets, this change in the environment signals to our brain to produce melatonin, which triggers our sleep and rest response, while inhibiting cortisol production, the stress hormone.

Recent studies have found that the body’s internal clock coordinates other systems such as hunger, metabolism, bodily temperature, hormonal production, stress, and immunity. Not only this, but every organ in the body has its own internal clock that is programmed to know when and what to do every day. All these clocks function optimally once aligned and matching with the light and darkness cycles found in nature.

The first thing in the morning when we wake up, we have a system that sums up photons from sunlight. Which means that if it’s a cloudy day, we need to spend more time outside. Technically we need over 100,000 lux to activate the system in the morning. When the sun is rising and it’s blue skies, 10 minutes is enough to get this. On a cloudy day or overcast we need to expose ourselves to 30 to 45 minutes outside in order to activate the system in the proper way.

Do you have a morning routine? Watch my informative workplace well tip here.

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What Can We Learn From Our Ancestors?

Roudy Nassif points out that our early ancestor’s success and productivity was determined by their ability to live in conformity with the rise and the fall of the sun. Throughout our human evolution, we rose with the sun and set with the sun. If our early ancestors wanted to be successful and productive hunters, they had to wake up at dawn and this gave them plenty of time to forage for food if they couldn’t hunt. They ate their last meal around twilight and at night, they rested in complete darkness for 12 to 15 hours. This enabled them to wake up feeling energized, light, refreshed and ready to go back to hunt, learn and create.

The way modern humans are meant to function is mainly the same today as it was 2 million years ago. No matter who we are, where we are, and whether we lived 2 million years ago or now, we still undergo a daily unescapable change in our environment.  The day must become night and this is governed by the universal Law of circadian rhythm. In order to adapt to this change, we have developed an internal clock that programmed us to optimally sleep and rejuvenate at night and work, learn, eat and exercise during the day. Also, in terms of food our early ancestors ate pretty much everything in their environment. They ate locally and with clock precision. Stone-age man didn’t have fridges in their kitchen that they could open at 10PM like us today! The essential learning is to live in harmony with the law & rhythm of nature.

Would you like to know more on the connection between Self-Care & Mental Health and 9 Simple Ways To Boost It? Listen to the Self-Care Goddess Podcast episode #2.

What Happens If The Rhythm Is Disrupted?

In my podcast interview Roudy explains that the fundamental reason why so many of the people experience a tremendous decline in their health such as chronic fatigue, depression & anxiety is because they lived most of their life experiencing a circadian rhythm disruption. When we start paying attention to the light nutrition and the light exposures throughout the day, we will be able to shift from a disrupted circadian rhythm to a harmonious one. An optimal daily rhythm is governed by our ability as human beings to live in harmony with the light information coming from the rise and the fall of the sun.

Studies by Satchidananda Panda, show that it’s not about what we eat, or how much we eat, it’s mostly about when we eat. And as human beings we are designed to eat during the day because all of our organs function optimally within the times when the sun is up. Whereas as soon as the sun sets our insulin is lower, or our pancreas doesn’t function as optimally as it would during the day.  And interestingly, that same meal that we would eat during the would take one hour to digest, is probably going to take four or five hours to digest when we eat it at night. Why does this matter?

Well, this will take away from the time that our body allocates for cleansing, rejuvenating, repairing detoxing and burning fat as well. Right sleep and light is often overlooked in a lot of diet plans.

95{1e16acf445973e61fdbd53de1c132af7e84fd195cf15d57956db2b0426c8fa60} of diets don’t work is because they don’t incorporate this important element of light and sleep which are very related to each other. Without proper light nutrition we won’t have proper sleep, and without sleep we can’t go into the night-time detoxing, restore, replenish, and engage in fat burning processes.

According to a new study led by Dr. Samer Hattar, chief of the Section on Light and Circadian Rhythms at the National Institute of Mental Health, artificial light at night affects a structure in the brain called the habenula. This center is responsible for pro-depressive behaviors and is known as the center of sadness and dissatisfaction. When the habenula is activated by artificial lights at night, it lowers the production of dopamine the following morning. This is a major problem because dopamine is needed to achieve our aspiration, our purpose what we desire to achieve in our life.

Are you looking to establish a self-care routine, check out my blog post on the Savoia Self-Care Method.

6 Practical Super-Easy Tips

Roudy Nassif shares these amazing tips that I urge to so start incorporating in your life & daily routine today:

  1. Expose yourself to early morning sunlight for at least 20 minutes every morning. This will increase dopamine and productivity will skyrocket.
  2. Watch the sunset every day. Even if it is cloudy. This light will make us a bit less vulnerable to the destructive effects of artificial lights afterwards.
  3. Stop eating for 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  4. Get into the habit of taking light breaks throughout the day enabling the circadian clock to stay in harmony with the light outside. Set a timer on the phone and after every 90 minutes, get outside for five minutes, just take in the sunlight and then go back to work.
  5. Use VivaRays evening glasses designed to block 100{1e16acf445973e61fdbd53de1c132af7e84fd195cf15d57956db2b0426c8fa60} of the blue and the highest frequency green, yet they keep enough green so we can do our evening activities. While cooking, driving or socializing with friends we are going to wind down yet have enough energy to run these tasks.
  6. 1-2 hours before bed switch into VivaRay’s nighttime glasses. These are designed to block 100{1e16acf445973e61fdbd53de1c132af7e84fd195cf15d57956db2b0426c8fa60} of the blue and the green light. They decrease the brightness by 20 times to give our brain the complete impression that it’s dark inside the room you’re in.

All these tips ultimately lead to a wonderful night’s sleep, help stay asleep longer & deeper and then wake up the next morning feeling more energized, focused and ready for the day.

To learn more on circadian rhythm and how you can maximize your light nutrition listen to the Self-Care Goddess Podcast episode #33 with Roudy Nassif.

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