LIGHT THERAPY TO IMPROVE ALL AROUND CELLULAR FUNCTIONING
Today we are exploring ways to use light frequencies to hack our circadian rhythm during the winter months and when traveling long distances, in order to get deeper sleep, have more energy and greatly improve our cellular functioning.
New research into the way our skin, eyes and even our brain can directly intake different spectrums of light is providing us with lots of options for maintaining optimal sleep cycles and energy levels, from very simple and inexpensive light bulbs to more high tech devices that are still very affordable, especially considering their effectiveness.
Of course, the absolute most effective light therapy of all is free: sunlight. And if we can manage to get more sunlight into our bodies during the winter months, then this is the most effective and most affordable option. But its also the least practical for most people, right?
Sunbathing in the cold is really not most people’s cup of tea, though it combining cold exposure with sunbathing does have amazing health benefits. The amount of sunlight our bodies directly intake is really a major factor in why so many people feel great in the summer, but easily get sick and depressed in the winter.
I used to have these symptoms until I came to understand that these symptoms were really being caused by both the altered circadian rhythm set by the reduced light cycle, as well as the reduction in the amount of light my body was able to intake during the winter.
You know I didn’t fully understand until recently that all of my body’s cells can intake light, and that sunlight is essential for mitochondria ATP energy production. We do not only take in sunlight for ATP energy through food, but new evidence demonstrates ways that humans can also intake light directly through our skin and our eyes.
This new evidence and new understandings of the capacities of human and animal mitochondria to collect photonic energy directly from sunlight is very new to the scientific community.
And there is even new research demonstrating that the brain itself can directly intake and process light.
TBL – TRANSCRANIAL BRIGHT LIGHT THERAPY
This research has let to a new type of therapy is known as transcranial bright light (TBL) and has been shown to boost functioning of the brain. Bright light is able to pass through the ear canals and through outer layers of the brain, reaching deep into the inner reaches where most of the glands are located, stimulating many different processes
The Human Charger
There is a TBL device on the market called the Human Charger and is super easy to use, it’s basically exactly like an Ipod. You just put it in your ears and it shines a specific spectrum of blue light through the ear canal where it then lights up inside the brain.
This device sort of “charges up” the brain by giving it more light, which can powerfully reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and help the brain produce more neurotransmitters, as well as produce more natural melatonin.
TBL can be used through the ears to set and reset our circadian rhythms, so it can also be used to reduce jetlag
or to reset your sleep rhythm after staying up all night, whether you have been cramming for an exam or to meet a project deadline, or if you’ve been up partying all night at a concert or music festival.
This device can be used to reset our sleep rhythms and it also can be used to just “charge” up the brain by giving it more light exposure, and this can powerfully reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, helping the brain produce more neurotransmitters, as well as produce more natural melatonin at night.
These Human Charger devices run around $200, and are really effective because they are designed to stimulate the brain directly. But there is another product that is a simple blue LED light that is designed to be used directly through the eyes and on the skin, and that runs around $100. I find that it is also very effective.
For symptoms of SAD such as depressive s, low energy and chronic fatigue, I find that the Phillips Blue Light is a very affordable and effective option. It is very simple and easy to use. You just turn it on and let the light shine around you for awhile, perhaps while working at a desk. It can it turn up pretty bright, but it actually doesn’t hurt at all and its kind of nice to stare into, though that is not necessary for results. Your eyes get used to it after a little while, and this really perks you up!
In addition to these moderately priced blue light devices, you can also buy regular light bulbs that fit any socket with extra blue spectrum in them, also with full spectrum UV or with UVB.
UVB is considered the best for increasing Vitamin D intake through the skin. Vitamin D is one of the most fundamental and essential of all nutrients, so UVB lights are excellent and very affordable tools to easily improve wellness at home, especially in the winter months. UVB is not meant to be used through the eyes and so this spectrum of light doesn’t directly impact the brain like TBL or other blue light devices.
The blue light spectrums activate the brain and cause higher alertness partially because they block melatonin production. So if used too much or at night, this will actually create a dysfunctional sleep pattern.
You know, you have most likely noticed that you can feel totally exhausted in your body, but if you just continue to stare at your computer or phone screen, then you can remain alert until very late at night. And this is precisely due to the blue light spectrum in the screen.
So you really want to be careful not to stare at a computer screen or phone screen at night, especially in low light, and especially on a screen that does not have the app Flux installed and running, or Twilight for Android phones.
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These apps block the blue spectrum in your screen at night, giving the screen a warm orange glow, which allows your brain to produce melatonin and let you get sleepy naturally. Perhaps a more pointed way to say this is that it doesn’t prevent melatonin production, wherein you may actually be completely exhausted, but if your eyes stay glued to the screen with blue light then you can easily stay wide awake late into the night, leading to insomnia, poor sleep, suppressed immune function and more.
You can also get a pair of orange lens glasses to wear at night, and this will prevent any blue light spectrum from entering your eyes. A lot of bio-hackers happily wear dorky looking orange glasses or goggles when they go out at night because this improves their sleep so much they find its absolutely worth looking a little funny.
QUICK RECAP OF LIGHT THERAPY DEVICES SO FAR
So again, just to recap, to effectively hack our circadian rhythm in the winter time and improve our quality of sleep, we need to increase the amount of blue light and UVB we are getting in the daytime, and get as much natural UV light from the Sun as we can, supplement with UVB if we are unable to get sunlight directly, also reduce or even eliminate our intake of these same blue light spectrums at night.
In the effort to eliminate blue light spectrums at night, many people are now experimenting with using red lights to illuminate their home in the evening.
Red lights have not only been shown to not disturb melatonin or sleep, but also to donate electrons and even stimulate collagen production. Using red lights in your home has recently been popularized by Dave Asprey and Bulletproof, and many bio-hackers are using this trick not only to improve their sleep, but also to improve overall cellular functioning by supporting mitochondria function.
Red light and especially near infrared light donates electrons to the body which assists mitochondria in ATP cellular energy production, much in the way that sunlight does. Red lights are also used by many high-end beauty salons because they promote collagen production and speed natural regeneration. Near infrared lights have been shown to be the most powerful in this regard, but even regular LED red spectrum lights have similar effects and this is a spectrum of light that our body can directly intake and use.
On of the main insights about red light I got from Dave Asprey’s talk at last year’s Bulletproof conference was about the body’s need to intake a balanced spectrum of light, and essentially how phone and computer screens are causing an epidemic of blue light imbalance, so Dave suggested adding red light into our environment as a cheap and easy bio-hack for balancing out the blue spectrums which are produced by nearly all light bulbs, as well as TVs, computers and phones.
So I really hope you have enjoyed this quick dive into the fascinating world of light therapy and the amazing potentials that this new understanding of our biology opens up. I hope you feel inspired to research more about light therapy and to experiment with it for yourself, to see how you can use simple lighting technology to take control of your vitality from the comfort of your home.
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Thanks for watching and Be Well!