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Sleep & Circadian Rhythms


Most of our society is sleep deprived. Why? It’s a complex answer but strangely largely out of control simply because of lack of knowledge and awareness. It is not necessarily a wish to party or stay up all night…often it is because of difficulty in getting to sleep in the first place! But a lot has to do with light! Yes, exposure to light both day and night! Our bodies have built in DNA sensitivity to light. But it has to be the right kind of light in the right 24 hour period. Simplistically this means outdoors and not indoors during daytime. AND the converse at night! Sleep & Circadian Rhythms.

Comparison between arenas of outdoors and indoors in terms of lighting is up to TWO orders of magnitude. Light intensity is measured in lux units, on an average day measures 100,000 at noon and indoors from the low hundreds to perhaps 2000…two orders of magnitude LESS than outdoors intensity! We continually muddle with our DNA sophisticated clocks, BOTH during the day AND night! Sleep & Circadian Rhythms.

Artificial and electronic lighting in our homes emit ‘blue’ wavelengths which replicate daytime! Light intensity affects a group of brain cells called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), that is a major synchronizer of our circadian clock. The pineal gland produces melatonin based on sun exposure daytime and darkness at night! BUT many of us are trapped indoors during the day, when we should be out in the sun! I discuss in other articles on Circadian Rhythm gadgets to compensate!

If we are not getting enough sleep for our individual needs, then it is really tough to stay healthy from many aspects. Long term this translates into chronic health issues, including chronic inflammation, prediabetes and diabetes, obesity, vascular issues, and a heightened cancer risk. Heart disease frequently is associated with lack of Vitamin D, and that is sunlight! It all comes down to Sleep & Circadian Rhythms.