I speak a lot about the benefits of getting morning light into your eyes and onto your skin. But what about the benefits of sunset?
For some of you (my far northern latitude friends), sunset is missed in the summer because of how late it occurs. Maybe winter will be a time to see the sunset more often and get its benefits.
When the sun is at its high point in the sky, called solar noon, this is the point of the day when every light frequency is present (infrared, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, ultraviolet A and, depending on the season, ultraviolet B).
This is also the point of the day when blue and green frequencies dominate. As the sun begins its descent back below the horizon, frequencies begin to leave. Starting with UVB and then UVA (in a mirror image in which they came).
As the sun begins to go down, there is a crucial frequency we tune into – blue light. The blue light sensors (melanopsin) in my eyes can tell that less and less blue light is present. The waning blue light is a key circadian signal that the day turns to night, and the body shifts from activity to rest and repair.
At sunset, red and infrared frequencies dominate. The infrared allows my body to continue making cellular melatonin, which allows my tissues to do deep repair when I am asleep, including two essential repair programs: autophagy and apoptosis.
So basking in infrared at the end of the day is an excellent way to both signal the end of the day and also maximize melatonin production for the mitochondria. Using candles and fire is a continuation of this infrared exposure.
Your environment should have zero blue light as the day winds down. Remember, from solar noon onward, blue light wanes. This means that exposure to it at the end of the day and into the evening creates circadian disruption that suppresses melatonin production—the exact opposite of what we want for deep, restorative sleep and repair.