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Light Up Your Wellbeing

Is your light diet optimal?

 

We, humans, evolved to live outdoors in nature, exposed to every sunrise, every sunset – and 12 or so hours of daylight in between. But what springs to mind when you think about improving your wellbeing? Nutrition. Exercise. Stress reduction. Sleep.  Rarely is light given equal billing – and it’s high time we changed all that.

sunlight_into_sand_pathway_leads_to_muerba_with_sanggah_view

Sunlight is as important as nutrition and exercise for health and lifespan.” Ari Whitten, Wellness Mama

Many studies show the benefits of natural light over artificial light – often linked to the workplace, where we tend to spend long periods of time. The shocking truth is that most of us are horribly light-deficient. Our modern indoor lifestyle deprives us of the sun’s life-giving energy while simultaneously bombarding us with what Dave Asprey, the father of biohacking, calls “junk light” – an excess of harmful blue light from fluorescent bulbs, computer screens, smartphones and other devices.

green_palm_leaves_with_sunlight

Almost all our planet’s energy comes from the sun. At the risk of over-simplification, plants
use photosynthesis to produce energy from sunlight; herbivores get that energy by eating
plants, and carnivores by eating herbivores. It’s all part of the cycle of life we learnt about in school.  But did you know that our human cells are directly sensitive to light? Mitochondria, those tiny powerhouses found in almost every type of cell, are responsible for energy synthesis, cell growth and reproduction. And light photons from the sun interact directly with our mitochondria to enhance their energy production.

It’s nothing new, of course. Ancient Egyptians and later Ancient Greeks practised both phototherapy – healing through light; and chromotherapy – using different parts of the colour spectrum to cure disease. Somehow, this knowledge got lost along the way.

 

But why is natural light so good for you?

close_up_asian_girl_black_robe_holds_straw_hat_sun_bathing_on_blue_day_bed_overwater_suite-1

 - Frequent and prolonged sun exposure – while never burning, of course! – has far-ranging and well-substantiated benefits.

- Increases serotonin – One of the “happiness” chemicals, serotonin reboots the brain while you sleep, so you wake up mentally refreshed – and it’s higher when you’re outdoors on a sunny day. Good levels mean better mood, feelings of satisfaction, and calmness.

- Brings better sleep – Light is the main cue for circadian rhythmicity. Exposing our eyes and skin to more natural light, especially morning light, is linked to melatonin production and therefore to better sleep at the end of the day. And when we sleep well, we feel well!

- Boosts productivity – Workplace studies show that daylight improves focus, efficiency and productivity, plus helping to keep illness at bay.
 
- Brings down high blood pressure – By increasing levels of nitric oxide in the skin, sunlight causes blood vessels to expand and lowers high blood pressure. (It’s similar to
how Viagra works, but without the, ahem, associated effects.)
 
- Reduces high cortisol, the stress hormone – Morning sunshine in your eyes can reset the cortisol cycle and support a healthy weight.
 
- Kills harmful bacteria – Being anti-microbial, sunlight also boosts immunity and defends us against both viral and bacterial infections by increasing white blood cell production.


Top tips to embrace natural light for energy, mood and longevity


 - Get outdoors!

sunlight_into_straw_hat_wicker_bag_rattan_fan_on_bamboo_bench_side_arm_chairs_beach_suite_veranda_looking_out_jetty

It’s obvious, right? Nevertheless, one global estimate is that most of us spend over 90 percent of our waking lives either indoors or in a car.


- Catch the sunrise 

west_overwater_suites_sunrise (2)

Did you know that red light in your eyes in the morning boosts melanin production to protect your skin against burning in the heat of the day? But if you’re no early worm, hack the effect with a red and near-infrared LED device when you do crawl out of your pit. (Leading brands include Joovv and PlatinumLED Therapy.)


- Take it outdoors

IMG_7292 Hike look out sunrise

Swap the gym for outdoor exercise.


- Hobbies

 

Start a new hobby, interest or activity that gets you outside, like gardening, nature photography, or an environmental cause.

 

- Workcation

workcation-table-elang-fruit-drink-laptop-pool-800px-2

You can work from anywhere! Get out of the office and find a spot with oodles of fresh air and natural light.


- Windows

glass_window_foliage_view_on_living_lounge_with_straw_hat_beach_robes_wicker_bag_hanging_tree_branch_hooks_jungle_lodge

If you do have to be inside, sit by the window. Pull your chair over to the brightest place in the house or workplace.


- Open the curtains

green_beige_brown_rattan_fan_on_wooden_table_arm_chairs_in_front_of_white_curtain_jellyfish_tentacles_light_beach_suite

Or choose blinds that roll up and let more natural light in; uncover skylights and any covered windows or doors.


- Mirrors

foliage_blue_lagoon_reflection_at_glass_door_beach_suite_with_lit_copper_mirrors_behind_canopy_bed

Use them to reflect more natural light around your space.


- Dry your washing outside

Ditch the tumble dryer and hang your washing outside whenever possible.

 

So, without necessarily having to revive the Ancient Egyptian sun-worshipper cult, there are plenty of compelling reasons – and a whole lot of ways – for us humans to emerge from the gloom of our modern-day caves and embrace the light.

 

 

ENQUIRY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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