Part 1 of Light, Environment, and your Longevity we discussed the different types of light: natural sunlight and artificial light (AL). We talked about the benefits of being in an environment of natural sunlight. An environment of natural sunlight allows proper circadian rhythms which control our “master clock” and all other biological processes. When our master clock has the ability and resources to function optimally we have less “mass confusion” which produces optimal wellness and longevity. We also talked about the negative effects of artificial and non-native light input into our eyes. If the main input into our sensory nervous system is artificial light, and not sunlight, our master clock becomes extremely confused. AL negatively impacts our body’s ability to tell what time of the day and what part of the year we are existing in. Disruption to our master clock causes our sleep cycles, hormone production, and metabolism to be compromised. This leads to autoimmune diseases, obesity, and neurological disorders just to name a few.
Living in an environment largely consisting of artificial light, non-native electromagnetics, poor nutrition and sleep habits, will cause confusion to our cells and our body as a whole. Ultimately leading to an unhealthy lifestyle and quality of life. Listed below I have categorized the benefits to natural sunlight based on time of day. If possible, absorbing sun throughout different parts of the day is ideal. We have careers, responsibilities, and hobbies that do not allow us to be outside all day every day. Taking time to allot to being outside will change our health. I encourage everyone to a challenge of getting a minimum of 20 minutes of AM sun daily, try to eat lunch outside (if possible), workout outside instead of in a gym under artificial lights, etc. Implement ways I have suggested to decrease artificial light.
Benefits of ‘morning sun’ (AM SUN):
- When the sun rises so do we! The frequencies of AM sun are very specific and signal our body to be awake which optimizes circadian sleep cycles, and production of AM cortisol for optimal energy levels (NIH, 2012) If we are not obese, we will wake up from a rush of cortisol being released.
- When we are awake during daylight and asleep during night that is a “circadian MATCH” our body’s metabolism has the opportunity to release and manage hormones as it should. Increased/optimal metabolism function = decreased obesity … ever seen the studies on sleep disorders, obesity, cancer, etc. with night shift workers, pilots, flight attendants, etc.? hmmmm
- If circadian cycles are functioning at an optimal rate our leptin (one of the master hormones in my opinion) will trigger our hunger. Eating within an hour of waking/sunrise increases metabolism and energy levels. When one does not get outside in the morning and does not eat immediately when waking it is a “circadian mismatch”. (Kruse, 2012)
- Absorbing sunlight via our skin helps oxygenate our blood, increasing oxygen in your tissues. (AHA, 2009) This is HUGE!
- UVA is higher in the AM, UVA lowers blood pressure by releasing nitric oxide (NO) into the bloodstream. It also causes increased blood flow throughout the body. Lowered blood pressure helps us have a healthier cardiovascular system. (AHA,2009)
- The sunrise AM light is the initial stimulus to release anterior pituitary hormone’s, as UVA and UVB increase the light will limit anterior pituitary hormone release. (Kruse, 2106) Three examples of anterior pituitary hormones include: growth hormone (GH) which stimulates growth and repair, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) which stimulates adrenals to produce cortisol, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid to secrete its own hormones.
Benefits of mid-day sun:
- UV and IR light must be present in the daytime in order for melatonin cycling and regenesis to occur in our eyes.
- Vitamin D production is at its highest due to position of the sun = more UVB rays:
- strengthens bones
- improves production of sex hormones
- improves immune system
- Sunlight will lower our cholesterol by turning excess cholesterol in our blood into steroidal and sex hormones…this is how Vitamin D is made. Cholesterol in the blood is synthesized by stimulated the production of D3 in the bloodstream, and then travels to the liver where it turns into calcidiol (major form of circulating vitamin D). Calcidiol will also turn into Calcitriol in the kidneys, which is the most potent form of Vitamin D. (Drake, 2011)
Benefits of afternoon-sun (PM SUN):
- The frequencies of sunlight in the afternoon signal our body that it is the end of the day. This helps once again with our circadian clock to be on schedule and function optimally.
- UV frequencies in the afternoon start the regenesis cycle of melatonin that we need to sleep at night. (Kruse, 2016)
Overall benefits of sunlight include:
- UV is a natural antibacterial remedy. UV kills the bad bacteria that is on our skin. It also helps improve skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, chicken pox, shingles…
- Sunlight naturally lowers blood pressure = Nature’s statin drug without all the side effects. (AHA, 2009)
- Sunlight will increase function of our immune system. It causes white blood cells to increase in number. (Levandovski, et. al., 2013)
- Sunlight decreases depression, amount of sunlight exposure is directly related to mood. (Levandovski, et. al., 2013)
“Temperature and light have massive biological effects on our biochemistry.” -Jack Kruse
Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2016, from https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx
Drake, V. J. (2011, November). Micronutrient Information Center. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/skin-health/nutrient-index/vitamin-D
Kruse, J. (2012, March 21). Cold Thermogenesis 7. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from https://www.jackkruse.com/cold-thermogenesis-7/
Kruse, J. (2016, February 17). TIME #9: THE “DARK KNIGHT” OF REGENERATION? – Living an Optimized Life. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from https://www.jackkruse.com/the-dark-knight/
Levandovski, R., Pfaffenseller, B., Carissimi, A., Gama, C. S., & Hidalgo, M. P. (n.d.). The effect of sunlight exposure on interleukin-6 levels in depressive and non-depressive subjects. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599872/
Whole Body UVA Irradiation Lowers Systemic Blood Pressure by Release of Nitric Oxide From Intracutaneous Photolabile Nitric Oxide Derivates. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://m.circres.ahajournals.org/content/105/10/1031.full