“Circadian rhythms vary over the course of the year,” says John Moody, farmer, writer, speaker, author of Food Club and Co-op Handbook, board member for Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and member of the administrative team for the Whole Life Buying Club. Moody was a speaker at the 2015 Weston A. Price Annual Conference.
Sleep cycles also change according to your place of residence, Alaska to Florida, different tasks and lighting create a different circadian rhythm.
“Circadian biology is at the core of all biology,” Moody.
Spring forward and fall back verifies this. Research shows this as the Monday after the change of daylight savings time shows a 25% increase of heart attacks. Suicide happens more frequently in the week following the time change. Accidents at work are increased. Alcohol consumption increases. Accidents on the road are increased in general but traffic fatalities increase by 17%.
The circadian rhythm can turn your genes on and off, Moody says. “Gene expression is controlled by the clock. Getting your sleep cycles right is critical to your health.”
Light is a prominent factor in sleep cycles.
Blue light exposure in the early morning and early day as well as experiencing the warmest temperatures in the mid day to late afternoon were highly impactful.
Ganglion cells are specialized cells in the eyes which senses the intensity of the visible light spectrum. Moody says. “When light hits those cells its produces a chemical called moloxin.” This suppresses melatonin which is made from serotonin.
Stevens says, “Melatonin is made 400 times more in your stomach than your pineal gland.”
Since the light spectrum moves from the blue spectrum into the red spectrum the ganglian cells aren’t getting the feed they need of light so they register to go to sleep. A cascade begins. The body’s core temperature decreases, blood pressure decreases and peristalsis slows.
The problem today is most people experiencing more blue light stimulation in the evening than in the morning through screens like television, computers, phones, LED and CFL lights are full blue spectrum. Ironically incandescent bulbs that are now diminishing are red spectrum.
“Blue light hinders melatonin production,” Moody says. “All of the modern lighting is hard core, high intensity blue light spectrum. It messes with your hormones, it messes with your digestion and immunity.”
Moody says, “The better blue light exposure you get early in the day the less it will effect you. It helps if you have some blue light exposure in the evening, it’s not as deleterious.”
Working in the evening with less light can assist your body’s rhythm.
Richard Stevens, Professor at the the University of Connecticut , cancer epidemiology wrote a 1987 paper where he says shift work is a carcinogen. Certain cancers like breast cancer and colorectal cancer are driven by alterations of circadian rhythms.
Body temperature is important. Moody recommends not exercising at night for this reason saying, “It raises body temperature, raises core temperature, right at the time the body is trying to do the opposite.”
Moody stresses if you push sleep long-term, not regaining your sleep cycle, it will slowly burn out your adrenals.
The WHO (World Health Organization) also classifies shift work as a carcinogen.
Since shift work suppresses melatonin production the depth of sleep is altered. Light and sound pollution as well as blue light exposure overpowers the body’s ability to adapt.
Noise at night, when the body is supposed to be quiet and at rest, floods the body with hormones to kill the potential offending intruder. The pineal gland shuts down melatonin production because your body does not want you to be eaten by a bear, or burglar. This is the same if the noise is created from a neighbor’s car door slamming shut or an emergency vehicle driving down your street.
Insulation in the walls assists with the same protective noise barrier.
A free program called F.lux automatically filters out blue light on screens. Filters for phones, laptops, tablets can also be available for a small cost. A filter that can be applied to a screen can do the same. Android has a blue light filter. Blue light filtering can also be available through an app called Twilight. Googling your devise’s name and blue light can lead you in the right direction.
Glasses that block blue light are effective for some.
Switching your bedroom lighting to 20 watt bulbs is effective in changing the light spectrum. Some people use salt lamps for the same reason. The soft orange light creates just enough light to read but not enough light to negatively impact sleep.
Painting your room a subdued color can also assist in calming down the body’s alertness cycle. Black out curtains assist in removing light for the same reason.
*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.
“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.
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