Okay, maybe that sounds dramatic but hear me out...
Artificial light (think light bulbs and screens) can have significant impacts on circadian rhythm, organ function, and the nervous system. Here are a few major issues backed by citations:
Disruption of Circadian Rhythm: Circadian rhythm is the internal biological clock that regulates various physiological processes in the body, including sleep-wake cycles. Artificial light, especially the blue light emitted by electronic devices, can disrupt this natural rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and other health issues.
Chang, A. M., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J. F., & Czeisler, C. A. (2015). Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(4), 1232-1237.
Impact on Organ Function: The disruption of circadian rhythm due to artificial light can also affect organ function. One of the most affected organs is the liver, which plays a crucial role in metabolism and detoxification. Misaligned circadian rhythms can lead to impaired liver function and metabolic disorders.
Sinturel, F., Gos P., Petrenko V., Hagedorn C., Kreppel F., Storch K.F., et al. (2020). Light modulates metabolic pathways and other novel physiological processes in the human liver. PLoS Biol 18(8): e3000730.
Adrenal Fatigue: Adrenal fatigue, a controversial term used to describe a collection of nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, and nervousness, has been associated with chronic stress. Artificial light, especially when used at inappropriate times, can contribute to chronic stress by disrupting the body's natural hormonal rhythms.
Heon-Jeong, L., Lee, K. M., & Lee, D. H. (2015). The effects of light on cortisol awakening response in healthy subjects. Sleep Medicine, 16(3), 462-466.
Impact on the Nervous System: Artificial light can influence the nervous system, particularly the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain, which is responsible for regulating the body's internal clock. Exposure to light at night can lead to changes in SCN activity, affecting various neurological processes and contributing to sleep disorders and mood disturbances.
Bedrosian, T. A., & Nelson, R. J. (2013). Influence of the modern light environment on mood. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(7), 751-757.
Managing light exposure, especially during nighttime hours, and using tools like blue light filters on electronic devices can help mitigate these effects and promote better overall health.
Here are a few steps to start with:
Replace LED lightbulbs with full spectrum Chromalux incandescent bulbs.
Purchase blue light filters for computer and TV screens or install Iris Tech and use the biohacker or reader settings.
Watch this quick video to easily and freely eliminate blue light from phones and tablets.
Purchase 100% blue light blocking lenses from Blublox or lowbluelights.com for watching TV and anytime after the sunsets.
For those with complex chronic illness and adrenal exhaustion, a more militant approach is required:
Watch the sunsrise daily for at least 30 minutes. Check the sunrise time. Get outside. Done is better than perfect. If you can only open your window in the morning and look outside, start there. Start with 5 minutes. Constency is key. Do what you can ever single day.
Turn your lights off after dark. Read by candlelight or with a dim readling light (not a lamp) and go to bed early. Be militant about this. I set up a few dim red night lights around the house but otherwise the house is dark once it's dark outside. This is one of the best things I have done for my health and the best part is, its free!
If you need further convincing or would like to dive deeper into this topic, listen to this interview with Dr. Jack Kruse (it's on the What Women Must Know podcast but is applicable to all genders!)
A few highlights from the podcast include:
Artificial light is an environmental stressor
insufficient sunlight is the other side of the coin
Sunlight helps the nervous system regulate
Artificial light activates the autonomic nervous system - the sress dise
Melatonin and hormone replacement therapy can make the problem worse
sunlight controls the sodium channels in the vagus nerve and adrenal glands and those channels control the flow of vitamin C from the blood to cells. Vitamin C is a crucial co-factor for norepinephrine, vasopressin, cortisol, and collagen.
Liposomal vitamin C is NOT THE SOLUTION! Daytime sunlight and night time darkness is.
The worse your health is, the more light you need to reset your body's natural rhythms
Become a nazi for your light hygeine!
Artificial light is devastating our biology.
You will never fix the problem if you do not get rid of artificial light at night!