Long ago, before artificial lights became the norm, our evenings were illuminated by the light of the candle or by kerosene lanterns. These days, we take our access to lighting for granted. But lights at night can throw our circadian rhythm — your body's biological clock — off kilter, causing problems with sleep that may contribute to a range of devastating diseases.
But not all types of light have the same effect on our health. Blue wavelengths, which include our TVs, phones, tablets, and computer screens, are particularly disruptive once the sun goes down. An experiment comparing the effects of exposure to blue and green light of similar brightness found that blue light suppressed melatonin, the hormone that governs our circadian rhythm, for around three hours, compared to 1.5 hours for green light. The blue light also shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much as the green light.
Here are three important ways in which blue light affects your overall health — and what you can do to reduce the risk.
- An increased risk of cancer. A large body of research has found a link between working the night shift — and the exposure to light it promotes — and breast and prostate cancer. Scientists believe that this may be due to the fact that when we're exposed to light, our bodies secrete less melatonin. Some preliminary evidence suggests that suppressed melatonin may contribute to some cancers as well as other diseases.
- Increased diabetes and obesity. In a study by Harvard University, researchers put participants on a schedule that gradually changed the timing of their circadian rhythms. As a result, the participants' blood sugar increased, putting them in a pre-diabetic state. Additionally, levels of the hormone leptin, which governs feeling full after eating, were reduced. This may contribute to obesity and diabetes, according to the researchers.
- Sleep problems. According to Harvard, even dim light can reduce melatonin production and interfere with the body's circadian rhythm. But blue light in particular is far more powerful than other types of light at reducing melatonin production, as one recent University of Toronto study found. In the study, researchers compared the melatonin levels of two groups. The first group was exposed to regular dim indoor light, while the second group wore blue-light-blocking goggles while exposed to bright indoor light. The levels of melatonin were about the same in both groups, shoring up the hypothesis that blue light is a powerful melatonin suppressor and interferes with healthy sleep, which can contribute to a suppressed immune system and the development of a number of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
What You Can Do
There are several ways you can reduce your exposure to blue light at night for better health:
- Switch out your blue nightlight bulbs for red bulbs, which interfere the least with melatonin production and the circadian rhythm.
- Two hours before bed, turn off your screens, and read a book instead.
- If you must watch TV or use electronic devices at night, consider wearing glasses that block blue light, or install an app on your devices that filters out the blue wavelength.
- During the day, bask in as much bright light as possible. This will boost your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, and it'll also improve your alertness and mood throughout the day.
- Don't be tempted to get on your device at night when you wake up and can't fall back asleep. Instead, get up and sit quietly in a dim or dark room until you feel sleepy again.
If you're suffering from insomnia, reducing your exposure to blue light at night can help improve your sleep. Even if you sleep just fine despite being glued to your screen at night, cutting out blue light exposure may reduce your risk of disease and improve the function of your circadian rhythm.
It's important to know your ideal weight range before embarking on the HCG Protocol so that you can lose the optimum amount. But to determine your ideal weight range, you first must calculate your frame size.Calculating Your Frame SizeYou will need a tape measure, ruler, or a set of calipers to measure your elbow to determine your frame size. Extend [...]
Kids may seem happy-go-lucky and carefree, but the truth is, they experience stress like the rest of us. While some stress is normal and perfectly healthy, chronic stress in children is an important factor for substance abuse, emotional problems, and learning disabilities later on in life.While you can't protect your child from feeling stress, you can help her learn to [...]
When followed to the letter, the HCG Protocol can bring about real, permanent weight loss. For most people who faithfully adhere to the Protocol, dieting or counting calories after the HCG Protocol is rarely necessary as long as they make healthy lifestyle choices most of the time and remain mindful of the food they put in their body. Unfortunately, [...]
It didn't take long for standing at a desk all day to be ruled out as a healthy alternative to sitting at a desk all day. Cornell University found that standing all day can increase the risk of heart disease and varicose veins, and since most people who use standing desks don't set them up correctly, standing all day [...]
Reaching a plateau during the HCG protocol is no fun, but it's bound to happen, according to Dr. Simeons. The most important thing is to first make sure you're following the protocol to the letter, and the second most important thing is to not give up. Plateaus don't last long, and in due time, your weight loss should start [...]
Beautiful skin takes some work. It all starts, of course, with a healthy diet that promotes optimal blood flow, body cleansing, and skin elasticity. It continues with regular exercise that keeps your organs, including your skin, in the best possible shape. The icing on the skincare cake is what you actually do to your skin. Washing your face, moisturizing [...]
In his manuscript, Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity, Dr. Simeons discusses the dreaded plateaus, wherein weight loss seems to slow or stall. These are inevitable, and they shouldn't cause you to give up hope. There's not much you can do about these, and as long as you're following the Protocol to the letter, they will pass. [...]
The average American consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar every year, and that doesn't include another 62 pounds of high fructose corn syrup, which is found in numerous packaged foods in the grocery store. Recent research shows that using pure, raw honey instead of sugar can amount to some excellent health benefits. What is Raw Honey? Raw honey is a pure [...]
Physical and emotional comfort are important during the 500-calorie diet phase, when you need to be present and mindful of what you're eating, drinking, and using on your body. Any threat to your wellbeing can lead to mistakes that slow weight loss.Adhering to the protocol is essential for success, and knowing ahead of time what negative events you may [...]