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The truth is that the eye and skin both have opsins in them. Opsins are cells that sense light. BOTH the skin and the eyes have cells that sense light, called Melanopsin. Specifically, melanopsin senses BLUE light.
This means your skin and eyes partially set your circadian rhythm via melanopsin when blue light hits the skin and eyes. Normally this happens any time the sun is out and is always balanced by red light in nature.
But indoors, we have lights on ALL THE TIME. And most of the light from our devices, overhead lights, TVs and monitors is BLUE LIGHT.
So we’re telling our body that it’s ALWAYS day time.
I’m telling you all right now, ignore this maxim to your own detriment!
What you’re going to do with this information is different from how you act today. Most people do not know and will not do what you will soon do. But in a few years, they’ll wish they had, and they’ll be jumping on the bandwagon.
WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT, INSIDE
Do not wear sunglasses during the day, OUTSIDE!
You’re going to look like a ROCKSTAR! Rolling up into the restaurant, or a nighttime business meeting in your sunglasses!
And you’ll be guarding your health. Which is far more important.
Seemingly counterintuitive advice, yet mounting research is proving three things:
- Artificial light at night leads to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
- Too much blue light during the day from devices can lead to macular degeneration and blindness.
- Sunlight heals and sunlight in the eye is so beneficial that we must ensure adequate (safe) amounts daily.
Seeing blue light at night tells our body that it’s noontime in the middle of summer. This misinformation can ultimately lead you down a path to poor health.
Some people go sooner than others, but eventually, everyone gets the message.
LET’S GO BACK IN TIME A BIT
Imagine you’re a caveman, or cavewoman, as the case may be. Ok, a cave-person. You live in a cave a long long time ago. Or a teepee. I’d even go as far as allowing a longhouse.
Humans have lived under the light of the sun forever. Well, until now that we’ve built these really big boxes that allow us to hide from the sun even during the day. But remember, you’re a cave-person at the moment. So you’ve lived under the sun…Forever.
Do you think maybe you’ve been designed to use the light of the sun in any way? You, the plants, the animals all live under the light of the sun. It seems silly that the sun would be toxic to you. It’s warm and inviting. Staying out in the sun feels good.
Yes, you cave person. You think the sun is healthy and likely your body was designed in some way to use sunlight. More than you could ever know! More later…
Do you think sunlight is a cue to help you remain healthy? Sure seems that way. It also tells you what time of day it is. What you might not know is that your body, your brain, and your eye also need to know what time of day it is. Your brain tells your organs what time of day it is. Sunlight gives you that information.
In fact, your body uses light as a signal for what hormones to produce when. It uses light to help provide information to your cells. This information helps you clear out cancer and steer clear of mitochondrial disease. Because when your clock is messed up, called circadian mismatch, you get sick.
All your organs have clocks in them. They are all synched by the sun. Unless you choose to stay out of the sun or hide inside under manmade artificial light. In which case you begin to confuse your body.
Sunrise and sunset have Red and Blue and Infrared. But no UV.
UV comes later in the day. So, while the red and infrared in morning sunlight ramp up hormone production, the blue tells our body that it’s daytime and tells cortisol to be released so we can wake up and be alert.
You head outside at sunrise. Light is precious and you don’t want to waste it. You always arise with the sun because your body is in sync with it. You see it rise and set each day. As you begin your day in the morning sun, magical things happen. Hormones are being released and produced. Your skin is being pre-conditioned to absorb more UV light later in the day and inflammation is reduced.
As the morning progresses you notice the sun feels a bit different. Ultraviolet (UV) makes an appearance. UV shuts down some of the hormone cascade happening in your body. You don’t want to be in full on hormone production all the time. This is what can happen living an indoor life and then your body gives up and shuts down hormone production and your hormone levels crash.
UV can slow down electron chain transport (the energy production process of mitochondria) while allowing your cells to continue to create energy. This should be mind-blowing. Like human photosynthesis! The Sun does this by allowing mitochondria to make energy from photons vs food electrons. You still need food, but less if you are in the sun. UV and Infrared work to spin the ATP Synthase motor of the mitochondria without electrons.
As summer moves to fall and then winter, you notice the light changes. The sun is up for fewer hours. The light seems a bit different. In a northern climate, there will no longer be any UVB in the sunlight. There will be less blue than there was in the summer
Your body will shift and adjust accordingly.
With the lower light levels, less food grows. Animal food is what remains mostly. Your body remembers this light condition and adjusts its hormone balance to be appropriate for the cold, for less food and for food from concentrated sources with less carbohydrates and sugars.
This cycle repeats.
OK, SO NOW IT’S NIGHTTIME. WHAT ARE THE THREE THINGS YOU SEE AT NIGHT 100,000 YEARS AGO?
Throughout all of human history, or the last 15 years you’ve been alive as a cave person, you have only seen firelight, darkness, and moonlight at night.
In fact, fast forward to only 100 years ago and it would have been exactly the SAME story!
What about moonlight? It has a light intensity less than that of the dimmest nightlight. It seems bright, but it’s not. So moonlight is really not that bright and will not screw up your sleep.
Firelight contains little to no blue light and lots of red and infrared light.
Even incandescent light contains very little blue light.
So until about 10 years ago, nearly all lights you saw at night contained little to no blue light.
This is how your body was designed, or evolved. In fact, opsins inside your eye and skin sense light colors. One opsin, called melanopsin senses blue light. When it’s daytime, melanopsin tells the body it’s day and sets the clocks. When it’s nighttime and no blue light is present, it tells the body to produce melatonin and prepare for sleep and recovery.
FAST FORWARD TO MODERN TIMES
You are now a corporate office worker living in Chicago.
You have become an indoor species. You spend 90% of our time indoors.
You were never designed to live indoors.
Your body remains always at a constant temperature. 72 degrees F.
You move from your bed to your kitchen for some coffee.
You head to the garage to get in your car with the heat on, or air-conditioning, depending on the time of year.
You get to work and stay there till 5 pm.
Then you get back in the car and head to the gym. Obligatory smoothie after a hard workout and hot shower in chlorinated and fluoridated water and you head back to your car.
You get some groceries and head home.
In your 72 degree house you watch some TV while making dinner. You eat at 8pm and settle down to social media on your phone or a book on your Kindle.
You’ve just spent an entire day indoors. In a temperature controlled environment that doesn’t vary outside of 72 F plus or minus a degree or two.
And you’ve been bathing your body in artificially made BLUE light.
Most indoor lighting sources, LEDs and CFLs, TVs, smart phones, computers, tablets are all based on technology that uses high amounts of blue light with almost no red and no infrared light. Certainly no ultra violet light. If you didn’t know, part of your body’s circadian rhythm is based on melanopsin and also on neuropsin. Neuropsin detects UV light. UV light changes throughout the day. As the day comes to a close and night begins no UV light is present. Neuropsin senses this.
Remember in nature, blue light is always balanced by red and infrared. Always!
You were never designed to see blue light without red light and infrared light.
Also, UV light changes based on the time of day and the time of the season.
Your body was designed to make use of these changes for keeping you healthy.
When you hide from the sun all day long under man made light, you mess up the signals your body uses to keep you healthy.
The massive amount of blue light you expose yourself to all day may be leading to macular degeneration, disease, and so much more.
It’s possible that higher UV from the sun during summer tells your body that food is plentiful and carbohydrates are growing. Neuropsin is the UV light detector in our eye and body and it does exactly that!
While waning UV from fall time sun cues our body to store more fat as we eat the high carbohydrate fall crops. That's right, UV is less in the fall than in the summer. Unless you are on the equator.
As winter comes on, the light environment signals it’s time to feed off protein, fat, and stored body fat for a while.
But if you eat carbohydrates and hide from the sun all year long, you may continue to signal your body to fatten for the coming winter.
But winter never actually comes. Good news if you live in Winterfell. Winter never comes because you never experience true cold, scarcity of carbohydrates, nor changes in light as the year progresses.
What if less blue and UV from the sun meant that plants weren’t growing and that you should not expect your body to deal with carbohydrates? The body was given a signal to burn stored fat and rely upon lower carbohydrates stores.
In the winter you should be living off your fat and eating a more energy dense diet.
But your environment has been flooded with massive spikes of blue light from artificial lighting summer and winter, day and night. Your body becomes confused as to what time of year it is and what time of day. You will be signaled to keep fattening for the approaching winter. But winter never comes.
Your body is entrained to sunlight. At night the body and eye sense darkness through your eye and skin to make and release melatonin. This hormone helps rejuvenate you during sleep and cleans up sick cells, keeping you healthy.
In the morning, at sunrise, the eye and skin sense blue light and shut down melatonin and produce cortisol to wake you up.
This is the body's circadian rhythm and it's set by the cycle of light and dark on Earth.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SEE BLUE AT NIGHT (LED, CFL, TV, SMART PHONE, LAPTOP, TABLET, NIGHTLIGHT, EVEN INCANDESCENT)?
Melatonin is shut down for the next 4 hours. If you sleep 8 hours a night, you lose half of the melatonin you should get to keep yourself healthy.
This chart is actually showing just that. LEDs can drop your melatonin by 80%. Who wants to lose 80% of their anti-cancer hormone?
Artificial light is not the same as candlelight or firelight. Alien artificial light contains blue light in proportions different from firelight and certainly different from darkness.
You must always know that when you move against nature, there will be consequences. Sometimes those consequences are beneficial and sometimes they are not. Exposure to blue light at night is one of those times nature trumps science.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s we began using NASA technology in our lights. We called these LED lights, light emitting diodes. These used less energy to light the same spaces.
Al Gore told us all about global warming and we spent umpteen hours debating and finally accepting that climate change was happening. Unfortunately, most people now agree that climate change is a bad thing, that the climate is actually warming and that man is responsible for it. Since you think climate change and saving energy is the most important thing, you have taken LED low energy use lights and put them EVERYWHERE.
Well, that may save your pocketbook, but it’s also harming your health! LED lights are so unlike sunlight and have large spikes of blue light. Blue light at night is something the human eye would never have been exposed to until modern times. It has been shown that the blue wavelength of light shuts down our bodies melatonin production. The very hormone that rejuvenates us during sleep, may clean up cancer and other disease and keeps us healthy.
“Artificial light at night is significantly correlated for all forms of cancer as well as lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers individually. Immediate measures should be taken to limit artificial light at night in the main cities around the world and also inside houses.”
Even Streetlights are being changed to bright white LEDs, lighting up the night as if it were daytime. This impacts nocturnal animals, and also completely messes up your own circadian rhythm. Our brains think it’s noon in the middle of summer when it’s really 10pm in the winter. I know what you’re thinking, those bright lights let you see, they protect you. I don’t think so. And why not just change street lights to a color of light that doesn’t mess with your circadian rhythm!
The American Medical Association warns against LED streetlights.
Study: “analysis of more than 4,000 people living in 11 separate regions of Spain established a link between heavy exposure to the LED lighting and a doubling of the risk of prostate cancer, as well as a 1.5-times higher chance of breast cancer.
The nature of the study means researchers cannot prove a causal link, but they believe the “blue light” emitted by the LEDs may be disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm, which in turn affects hormone levels.
Both breast and prostate cancers are hormone-related”
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Get outside at sunrise, when there’s no UV, and get as naked as you can. Take off any glasses and certainly don’t wear sunglasses. Stay out there for at least 5 minutes
- Get outside often during the day to keep your circadian rhythm set.
- During the day, work in a highly windowed room.
- Use Iris LINK on your laptop to reduce blue light during the day.
- Install Iris app on your phone and run it all day and night
- Turn off Lights after sunset
- Use Red Lights at Night
- Wear Sunglasses at night!
these are my go-to glasses for night always. You can find them here I have two pairs so I can keep one in my car and one at home. They are my favorite for two reasons.
red lens blueblockers block all blue light at night and even some green. Most other blueblockers block only blue light and not even the full spectrum of blue light. Make sure you are blocking ALL blue light at night. Find red lenses here.
These are UVEX lenses. They block blue light. They don’t make you look like a Rockstar, but they're super cheap, available on AMAZON and they work. Use them when you’re home.
Make sure to get whatever glasses people will actually wear, or they'll end up here:
These are Dewalt laser glasses. They block blue, green, and some yellow. They are super cheap on Amazon. They make it hard to see much, so don’t drive while wearing these.
We tried the true dark blockers, they look really weird - that's why we made our own. Find our store here.
These are our shadow frame. You can find them here
You now have no excuse to pretend that light at night is safe. Pick up a pair of glasses, some red lights, and make the most of your sleep by actually recovering and not building disease!