20 Aug Get Outside And Boost Your Productivity
Our body works in tune with the rise of the sun and the fall of the moon. This light exposure and plays an enormous role in regulation of our circadian cycle and our overall wellness.
External cues called zeitgebers help synchronize or alter our rhythms; they include temperature, nutrition, meal timing, social interactions, pharmacological interventions (medicines, drugs), and most prominently, the light/dark cycle of the sun and the moon.
Light exposure is the biggest zeigeber that impacts our sleep quality and quantity. This includes both manmade and natural light. The problem is our body doesn’t understand the difference between whats natural and whats not and has a huge impact on our circadian cycle.
That blue light on your computer screen or phone at 10pm is giving a similar signal to your body as the early morning sunrise. It is this blue light that has the biggest significance in our sleep patterns today. Blue light can play and integral role in our health in the right amounts. When we’re exposed to much however (or too little) then what the body requires the problems arise.
Blue light regulates our secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. With to much exposure to blue light, we limit the production of melatonin causing us to stay alert and awake; then in the absence of blue light, melatonin production ramps up, and we get tired and sleepy.
The good news is though that red/orange light similar to that of a camp fire has little to no effect on melatonin production, so sleep therefore isn’t disrupted when we use this sort of light. However,,the lights in our home, devices and screens is pro dominantly blue light.
When we sleep, between the hours of 10pm and 2am your body does the majority of its physical repair. Then between the hours of 2am and 6am it does its psychological repair, so thats memory, moods, emotions. It is in these moments of deep sleep that your next days productivity is set up.
Timing of our light exposure is important to understand to allow you to get optimal sleep patterns and restorative sleep. Just as much as you need to sleep in a dark black room, you also need exposure to mid day light to optimise your own circadian rhythm. Getting outside into the midday light can improve alertness, performance, and even sleep quality. Then removing nighttime exposure to blue light because this disrupts our sleep hormones.
Here are some tips on how you can structure you days light exposure to improve sleep quality and productivity each day:
– Cut off bluelight exposure from devices in the evenings. For me this is from 7pm.
– Get outside into the midday light for 15-30 minutes each day. Even on a cloudy day.
– Go to sleep earlier and use the early wake up on the other side to be more productive and focused.
– Use candlelight or orange/red hewed bulbs in lamps in corner of rooms in the evening verses overhead lights.
– Keep your room as dark as possible and your sleeping quarters pitch black.
– Try installing flux onto your computer screen to remove bluelight exposure.