Every species is dialed in and takes its cues from nature on when to sleep, wake, hunt, reproduce, migrate, hibernate, etc. The sun and the rotation of the Earth essentially dictate the rhythm of all life on our planet. The only species arrogant enough to disconnect from nature’s rhythm are hairless apes. Via the use of artificial light, heating, modern housing, rubber-soled shoes, clothing and more, we effectively removed ourselves from our environment. We spend more than 90% of our time indoors, and our schedule is almost entirely artificial. Hence we are out of sync, out of rhythm.
Our bodies’ circadian rhythm is linked to nature rhythms via various environmental cues, mainly light and temperature. The wrong signals at the wrong time create timing issues as everything in our bodies runs on a tight schedule. Biological clocks exist in almost every cell of our body. The master clock in the brain’s hypothalamus region is entrained by light. Other peripheral clocks (i.e. in our muscles and digestive system) are set by when we move and eat. Out of sync, biological clocks lead to biological chaos, inflammation and eventually disease.
The functioning of our entire metabolism, including the release of hormones and neurotransmitters, the countless biochemical reactions that constantly happen in each of our cells, and about 50% of our genes are under circadian control. When you understand this, the magnitude of the issue becomes apparent. Pretty much all modern diseases are linked to chronic circadian disruption, from autoimmune diseases to fatigue, to cancer, to diabetes, obesity, sleep disorders and more.
Most people these days effectively have a changing, erratic rhythm, utterly decoupled from light and dark. Additionally, almost everyone suffers from mal-illumination, meaning a lack of sufficient daily natural sunlight and too much indoor artificial light, especially at night. We have not grasped yet that the light our eyes receive is not just for vision but for setting our biological clocks and much more. Is it any wonder we experience many symptoms of being out of rhythm?
One of the reasons nature prescriptions are so effective for improving health and well-being is the increased exposure to natural light. Getting a daily dose of natural light, especially in the early morning around sunrise, is the best entrainment for your circadian rhythm and one of the most powerful health habits you can adopt. Most bioactive forms of light, namely ultraviolet (UV), blue, red and infrared light (IR), we only receive when we are outside with our eyes and skin exposed. LED light is extremely high in the blue spectrum but devoid of the other essential light spectra.
Our body needs exposure to the full light spectrum for proper signalling and biological functioning. While UV light is essential for regulating blood pressure and hormones (Vitamin D, endorphins, serotonin, dopamine), red and IR light is crucial for regulating repair and regeneration in our cells. Just being behind glass filters out a considerable portion of UV, red and IR light, depriving us of these essential wavelengths and causing a disruption. As “The function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light” (quote from Prof Dr Fritz Albert Popp), this is a very bad setup.
The more we respect and align our rhythm with the day and night cycle, as every other species does, the more balanced, happier and healthier we will be. Our alignment with the natural cycles will also create more awareness of and intimacy with our local environment. In order to take care of nature, we need to have a personal relationship with our immediate environment first.
Changing one’s rhythm and lifestyle can be challenging, especially given the demands and distractions of our modern world. To enable people to live more in line with their biological schedule and to reap the benefits is one reason we created Circadian. The app is designed to help people learn about and start transiting to a healthier lifestyle. If you are not using Circadian yet, download it here.