What Are Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

Light is not only the primary energy source for all living organisms on planet Earth, but it also represents the number one, time cue for the human circadian clock. With the digital revolution, artificial blue light invaded our homes and bedrooms, and we can not imagine our life without smartphones and TV.  

However, the late-night use of modern technologies, including Smartphones; plasma TV screens; computers; or tablets, have a detrimental effect on sleep and ultimately on general wellbeing. 

Effect Of Blue Light On Circadian Rhythm

The artificial blue light from screens and LED light sources can interfere with circadian rhythms and suppresses the release of the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin. Melatonin participates in the initiation of sleep and a deficiency can cause difficulties falling and staying asleep, and also reduces sleep quality. 

Blue Light Glasses Benefits

In the late afternoon and evening, we should avoid blue light as much as possible and get closer to the light spectrum of dusk and dim light conditions, which enhances melatonin secretion and promotes drowsiness.

Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Work?

Wearing blue, light-blocking glasses and installing screen protecting blue light filter on all electronic devices helps to create artificial dim light conditions essential for melatonin synthesis. 

 

Consider using blue, light-blocking glasses after 6 pm and especially in the evening when watching television. Rather than opting for a cheap product, use trusted sources. 

How Can You Test Your Blue Light Filter?

I have bought several online, but almost all of them were not effective enough. If you are purchasing the glasses in a store, you can run a quick test to see how effective they are. Google blue, light-blocking test images and look at the image with and without the blue, light-blocking glasses. 

Basically, you need to compare two different colour spectra on the blue-light test image. If you can see the blue part between 400 and 480nm, the lenses are not good enough, and I would not recommend these glasses. Usually, better quality blue blockers are red-tinted. 

Blue Light Filter Glasses

The good news is that they don’t have to be ugly; there are various frames and designs on the market to satisfy everyone’s taste. Alternatively, customise the glasses which makes it more likely that you will wear them in the long term. There are also blue, light-blocking glasses, which partially filter blue light. These glasses are not tinted and are recommended for people who are working all day long in front of computer screens.

Inadequate Lighting In The Workplace

Illumination at work is often outside of our control and wearing customised glasses, which filter the harmful parts of the blue-light spectrum are often the only choice to improve our exposure to harmful light frequencies.

More informed individuals try to offset the circadian mismatch induced by artificial light in the evening with blue-light blocking glasses and screen protection applications to simulate sunset and gain better sleep. However, the majority of the population don’t realise the consequences of their behavioural patterns.

In my opinion, public health authorities and the entire medical institutions should educate the community about light pollution to encourage a healthier way of life.

Stay Healthy!

What is Circadian Lighting And Why It’s Important To Understand Light?

Light is like a double-edged sword. It can improve energy levels, mood, performance,  sleep and body regeneration by enhancing robust circadian rhythms. In contrast, light exposure at the wrong time can delay sleep onset by inhibiting the secretion of the regenerative hormone melatonin at night. 

Circadian Rhythm Sensitivity To Light

For millions of years, humans evolved under natural light, and all physiological processes have been adapted to different light frequencies. Our eyes are supposed to see the regenerative morning light at around 40 LUX (LUX is a metric for light intensity) and bright natural light during the day at 100 000 – 130 000 LUX. Exposure to bright natural light has a profound effect on energy metabolism and cognitive brain function. Hormones and neurotransmitter exhibit a light-dependent pulsatile release according to the organisms circadian rhythm. 

 

The jetlag we suffer after a transatlantic flight is nothing else but a circadian mismatch in which hormones and neurochemicals are still released according to departure time zone and yet not adapted to destination time. The consequences are symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, cravings at an abnormal time of the day, headaches and many more.

 

The exposure to circadian time cues efficiently alleviates these symptoms and light is one of them If you want to explore more information about the importance of circadian rhythms and get deeper insights into the bondage between human and nature and improve your sleep pattern, I would recommend reading my book Sleep Timer

 

Circadian rhythms are the cornerstone of a healthy body and mind and if you want to optimize your lifestyle or the environment start from there.

 

 

Circadian Lighting For Home

Unfortunately, in today’s reality, it is almost impossible to spend much time in daylight outside, which makes it necessary to improve the artificial light conditions of our indoor environments. Adapting the indoor illumination to our biological needs can have a profound impact on our daily wellbeing and sleep at night. Daylight exposure is critical for robust circadian rhythms which indirectly impacts sleep onset at night. 

A good baseline to get the beneficial effects of daylight is around  10 000 LUX. As you may notice from the list below, indoor illumination has much lower brightness than natural sunlight even on a cloudy day.

Examples of Light Intensity Levels

  • Bright sunlight; 120 000 LUX
  • Bright sunlight behind a window; 70 000 LUX
  • A partly sunny, partly cloudy day; 10 000 – 20 500 LUX
  • Typical overcast day; 1000 – 1500 LUX
  • Office lighting with workplace next to the window; 1000 LUX 
  • Supermarket lighting; 750 LUX
  • Normal office light; 500 LUX
  • Childcare centre; 500 LUX
  • Gymnasium; 200 – 500; LUX
  • Sunset and sunrise; 40 – 400 LUX
  • Street Lights; 320 LUX
  • School classroom, university illumination; 250 LUX
  • Home lighting; 150 – 200 LUX depending on the light source
  • Working areas which do not imply visual tasks; 150 LUX
  • Candle Light; 50 LUX
  • Twilight; 10 LUX
  • Starlight; less than 1 LUX
  • Full moon at clear night; 0.27 LUX

Circadian Rhythm Light Bulbs

If exposure to natural light is not possible, particularly during the winter months, consider using daylight simulators in the morning. The daylight simulators emit bright light at 10 000 LUX. Install the dawn simulator, (so-called circadian lighting) in rooms where you spend some time in the morning, such as the bathroom or kitchen.

This way, the light exposure happens by default. Ten minutes in bright light are enough to enhance the amplitude of circadian rhythms. If you have insomnia issues, try to get as much natural light as possible during the day.

On the other hand, a light intensity of only 10 LUX at night can interrupt sleep. Therefore you shall avoid blue light exposure in the evening or use the blue light blocking glasses. 

 

Here are my top 4 recommended products that can significantly improve the light in your home or workspace environment during the day.

Tools to improve your daylight environment:

  • Light Therapy Lamp, Sunrise and Sunset Settings, 12000 Lux Bright Light Therapy, UV Free Full Spectrum Sunlight Lamp with Alarm,1-40 Level Adjustabl Brightness, 5 Time Options for Home/Office Use

  • Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp | As Seen On Shark Tank | 10,000 LUX Ultra Bright LED | Full Spectrum UV Free | Adjustable Light Panel | Turn On Your Day

  • Light Therapy Lamp, Miroco LED Bright White Therapy Light - UV Free 10000 Lux Brightness, Timer Function, Touch Control, Standing Bracket, for Home/Office Use

  • REPTI ZOO Reptile Full Spectrum UVA + UVB Sun Lamp Self-Ballasted Vapor Basking Spot Lamp/Bulb/Light for Reptile and Amphibian Use

 

Tools to improve your evening light environment:

Install free software on all screens: www.justgetflux.com  and consider buying effective blue light blocking glasses for sleep.

If you want much more in-depth info on how to choose effective blue light blocking glasses, then you should take a moment and read this article.

 

Does Lavender Make You Sleepy?

The smell is an essential sense in our life; it influences our perception, mood, and even memory.

Our receptor cells detect the scent and send a message to the brain, generating different emotional reactions, including restfulness or irritation.

The brain can associate a specific smell and influence nervous system response. Exposure to enjoyable scents activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) by reducing the stress and generating calmness.

The smells in our environment play a significant role in sleep hygiene.

There is one way to improve sleep quality by optimising your bedroom aroma. Cosy and relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom has positive emotional effects on our body and promotes sleep.

One of the natural ways to improve the bedroom aroma is to place a lavender plant next to your bed.

 

Lavender Plant Benefits

Because of its proven benefits on mental and physical health, lavender has become a popular natural remedy. According to scientific research, the lavender plant has the highest concentrations of linalool.

Inhaling linalool reduces the stress level, increasing sleep duration and raising white blood cells level and boosting the immune system. Moreover, lavender scent neutralises unpleasant odours by saturating the air with phytoncides.

 

Lavender Sleep Products

Another good option to naturally unwind after a stressful day is to place dried lavender flowers or small sachets inside the pillow slip or apply the organic lavender pillow spray. Lavender scent candle is an excellent way to achieve a meditative atmosphere in your bedroom.

If you are sleeping with an eye mask, opt for a lavender eye mask, it might help you not only to fall asleep quickly but can also diminish headaches or migraines.

 

Finally, does lavender make you sleepy?

Lavanda scent has a direct impact on your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and sedative effect on your body and mind and prepares you to sleep.

 

Lavender Medical Use

Because of the unique chemical constituents, lavender can be both aromatic and therapeutic. For example, the citral component is commonly used to produce creams and lotions. Valerian acid is used in the manufacture of medicine like analgesics, medications lowering blood pressure and rapid heartbeat, anxiety and sleeping drugs.

Furthermore, the lavender contains many antioxidants. It has a powerful antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory effect, it strengthens the immune system and may slow down the ageing process.

 

How To Use Lavender Oil For Anxiety

Lavender plant contains essential oils. Use 3-4 drops of essential oil for aromatherapy or body massage. It helps to improve memory, sleep quality, ease anxiety and depression.

 

Lavender Oil Benefits For Sleep

A bath with few drops of essential oil or lavender salt bath can extend deep sleep time at night. The good news is that lavender oil also inhibits the stimulant effects of caffeine in the body. It’s an excellent way to neutralise your afternoon coffee, so it is not interfering with your sleep routine.

 

 

Important: Lavender essential oil should never be taken internally!

 

Cooking With Lavender

 

In addition to the healing properties, lavender is also used in cooking. It can be added to salads, sauces, and as a meat seasoning, an excellent example is a lavender steak.

Certainly, it is worth trying aromatic lavender cookies and lavender ice cream! Lavender tea is a natural and homoeopathic remedy for women during menopause.

 

Lavender Side Effects

 

First of all, the lavender oil should not be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding and for young children.

According to the studies, the lavender plant has estrogen components (female hormones).  It is not advisable to use lavender products or lavender tea tree oil for young boys, as it may cause breast growth in boys.

Substances contained in lavender prevent the absorption of iodine and iron, so those who suffer from these elements deficiency should not use lavender products with the medicines containing iron or iodine.

Excessive consumption of lavender oil or herbal products can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

How To Increase Melatonin Level Naturally?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is released in the evening with the onset of lower light frequencies and peaks after 4- hours sleep in complete darkness.
Melatonin release at night signals all biological systems the timing for sleep and recovery. If the secretion of melatonin is delayed or insufficient, it has detrimental effects on sleep and general health.

The hormone melatonin is not only a sleep regulator but an antioxidant as well. The antioxidant properties play an essential role in cell and organ repair. In fact, all chronic diseases can be linked to melatonin deficiency.

Before opting for melatonin supplementation, you should apply these essential strategies on how to enhance melatonin levels naturally:

 

1. Morning light exposure. Use natural sunlight if you can. If not, buy a dawn simulator and wake up with its morning light simulation. Light exposure is the number one time cue for our biological system.

Light sets the Master Clock in the brain, and all other biological clocks in the cells and organ systems follow the pace. Take off your sunglasses and get enough natural light throughout the day in your eyes and on your skin.

Exposure to natural light frequencies might be enough for chronic insomniacs to get back to sleep. It is as simple as it sounds. Just count the hours you are exposed to the natural light. You might be surprised how deficient you are.

Most modern humans are almost alienated from natural light frequencies. Light intensity is measured in Lux. Feel free to compare the light intensity in your environment to the natural light. Office light has around 500–1000 Lux and daylight up to 10 000 Lux. The indoor light environment is only a fraction of natural light.

 

2. Eat a tryptophan-rich breakfast to jumpstart your day. Tryptophan converts in melatonin, so start consuming the following superfoods which contain a high amount of tryptophan: almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, nuts, watermelon seeds, spirulina, tofu, cottage cheese, yoghurt, kefir and all kinds of meat or fish.

 

Important! Check your food allergies before opting for tryptophan-rich foods.

 

Food intolerance can be a significant cause for insomnia. If you have a deficiency in tryptophan, you are more likely to have a deficiency in serotonin and melatonin.

 

3. Lower your blue light frequencies in the afternoon. Install F.lux or IRIS on all your electronic devices to simulate evening light frequencies, so your eyes scan the right time of the day and transmit the message to the brain to switch the gears. Alternatively, consider using blue light blocking glasses.

 

4. Come down and de-stress in the evening to lower cortisol levels. Apps like Headspace and Calm can help you to wind down. Studies show that people who meditate regularly are producing more melatonin than people who do not.

 

5. Absolute darkness at night is the most crucial requirement for melatonin release. If the eyes detect even a dim light at night, they transmit this information to the brain which can’t tell anymore if it is daytime or night. Eliminate all screens and electronic devices from your bedroom and consider buying shades for your windows or use an eye mask.

 

6. Food is an essential circadian time cue. Eat your last meal 3- hours before bedtime. But don’t go to bed hungry. Your body will identify this as a lack of energy and might wake you up.

If you must eat before bed, eat a spoon of honey or something light not to overcharge your digestive system. After a period of adaptation, your body will get used to eating less at night, and you won’t feel hungry during the night.

 

7. Lower your bedroom temperature. An ideal temperature would be 19 degrees Celsius. Lower ambient temperature is a time cue for sleep and regeneration. Try various temperatures and make sure you feel comfortable. If it is too cold, you won’t fall asleep or stay asleep either.

 

Check out my previous blog post on tips on how to lower core body temperature and how ambient temperature impacts sleep.

 

8. Exclude Wi-Fi and Electromagnetic Fields from your sleeping environment. Devices which are emitting EMF with Wi-Fi and BlueTooth interfere with our health in many ways. The topic raises more and more concern in scientific communities.

Don’t sleep with your cell phone next to your bed or under your pillow. Install a central Wi-Fi switch in your house that can be turned off at night. Turn off all computers, phones and other mobile devices.

 

9. Do all your most stressful activities early in the day and keep the creative tasks for the afternoon. Stress stimuli before bedtime inhibit melatonin release.

 

10. Exercise is great in the afternoon or early evening, but high-intensity training close to bedtime can destroy your sleep.

 

11. A low dose of melatonin can be helpful once in a while if the light environment is adjusted. Check out my article for melatonin supplementation tips.

Please note that wisely adjusted Circadian Rhythm trumps every supplement or diet.

How To Sleep In Hot Weather?

It’s not a secret that almost everyone struggles with sleep during hot summer nights. Hot and humid nights cause difficulties in falling and staying asleep; it reduces sleep time and efficiency. Body temperature regulation plays a vital role in sleep mechanisms. When the environmental temperature is high, it is harder for the body to get rid of the heat and cool itself down.

A lower core body temperature goes hand in hand with deep and restorative sleep, while elevated core body temperature makes it challenging.

 

If you want to maintain your sleep during summer heatwaves, you should consider these three factors :

 

Lower Core Body Temperature

Temperature is a critical time cue of human circadian rhythm (biological clock) and plays an essential role in sleep regulation. By changing the environmental temperature or skin temperature, we can influence the core body temperature and improve sleep significantly.

All we need is a small temperature gradient of our core body temperature (for example from 37 C to 36,4 C), which reduces alertness and makes sleep more inviting.

The body temperature is partially regulated by the small subcutaneous vessels in the peripheral skin regions. If these blood vessels dilate more blood can rush in. With the blood, the temperature can be released to the exterior environment.

This happens especially in the vessels of the feet and the hand. It is one mechanism how the body releases heat through the skin, and it happens precisely during sleep.

So how to cool down body temperature?

Tip 1. An excellent way to lower your body temperature is taking a cold shower. It’s not cold water that lowers the core body temperature but the time after the initial rush when you relax and the peripheral skin vessels dilate to release more heat.

 

Tip 2. Another way to reduce a body core temperature is by wearing socks at night, which is probably more indicated during the colder months of the year. The socks warm the peripheral skin vessels of the feet, which gives possibilities for the body to release heat with the blood flow from the core to the skin.

One of the secrets of deep and restorative sleep lies in the thermoregulation of your body’s heating and cooling system. You can check my previous blog post for more details.

 

Tip 3. Late dinners generate high body temperature.
It’s not recommended to consume food 3-hours before bedtime. Your body will take time to process food, meaning it will be working in full power and producing heat.

Early dinners low in carbohydrates help to maintain Insulin and Leptin sensitivity, keep the gut microbiome healthy and maintain the gut lining stable, which reduces general inflammation! Early light dinners allow you to fall asleep faster, improve sleep quality and energy metabolism.

 

Tip 4. Melatonin is the natural cooler of body temperature.
The sleep hormone melatonin is released in the pineal gland of the brain in the evening with the lower blue light frequencies during sunset and in conditions of absolute darkness at night. Melatonin rushes through our systems to find many receptors with different functions.

There are some receptors in the peripheral skin vessels, and when enough melatonin docks onto these receptors, the skin vessels dilate to release heat and reduce core body temperature.

Note that a sufficient surge of Melatonin only occurs in complete darkness. If you are struggling to fall asleep, consider taking 5mg of Melatonin as a supplement. Check out my previous blog post on Melatonin supplementation.

Lower Room Temperature

The temperature of our surrounding environment is a critical factor influencing sleep. If the ambient temperature is too high, your body will have difficulties in releasing heat.

 

Tip 5. Reduce your room temperature. Scientific research showed that the best sleeping temperature in summer is 19°C (66.2°F). If 19°C is too uncomfortable, you can slightly increase the temperature and see if you sleep better. The adaptation to the thermal environment differs between people.

 

Tip 6. Keep windows and blinds closed on a hot day. Get a blackout curtain to eliminate any outside artificial light and keep your bedroom room in complete darkness. Even dim blue light can interfere with the melatonin secretion during the night.

 

Tip 7. Alternatively, use a comfortable sleep mask like the handmade cotton sleep mask or the Sleepmaster Sleep mask to maintain your sleep through the night.

Lower The Temperature Of Your Bedding

 

Tip 8. If you can’t sleep naked, use light cotton sleepwear, its breathable and absorbs sweat. High-quality cotton is the perfect material for bed linen and delicate blankets. The right sleepwear should make it easy to release the bodies heat into the environment, so it is not accumulating under your coverage.

 

Tip 9. Opt for the seasonal type of mattresses. The summer side has surface fillings which absorb and release body heat to the environment when the winter side designed to retain hit. All you have to do is to turn your mattress around once a year!

 

There is a thermal neutral zone in which we sleep best. Thermoneutrality inside the bed lies around 30ºC, which is comfortable to maintain healthy sleep.

 

Tip 10. If you want to cool down in bed, use ChiliPad cooling systems for mattresses, it become popular all over the world. ChiliPads are not only trending among athletes and high performers but regular people as well.

The ChiliPad regulates the temperature of your bed, keeps your mattress fresh, helping you get better sleep and improve longevity. Full range of products and detailed descriptions you can find on the chilitechnology.com

 

Tip 11. Or you can use Cooling Gel Mattress Topper, which will help you to cool down and maintain a comfortable bedding temperature.

 

I hope this article will help you to get better sleep during the hot summer nights.

Do We Sleep Better With Socks Or Barefoot? Should You Wear Socks To Bed?

What is influencing your sleep quality?

Sleep at night is influenced by various factors like the lower blue light frequencies in the evening or low energy levels after a long, intense working day.

Environmental factors and a high sleep drive because low energy levels trigger the action of chemicals like Adenosine, Melatonin and GABA, which cause drowsiness, sleep onset and sleep maintenance.

There is one sleep promoting environmental factor, which is often underestimated, and it is a drop in environmental temperature with a slight decrease in body temperature.

Why is sleeping temperature important?

In nature, with the settings of the sun, the environmental temperature and body temperature decreases and sleep occurs. Low environmental temperature is a time cue for our body and brain, which eventually induces sleepiness, sleep onset and sleep maintenance.

The hypothalamus in the brain regulates body temperature between 36 ºC and 38ºC (96.8 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 24 hours of the day and night. We can state that a cooler core body temperature is favourable for sleep and warmer body temperature is energising.

How to optimise body temperature to sleep better?

 

According to the fact above, you can do one thing to slightly lower your core body temperature to fall asleep easier and maintain a healthy sleep pattern throughout the night!

Sleep with the socks on!

Right now, you might think -what are the benefits of sleeping with socks on?

 

Believe it or not, but scientists get paid to research the effects of wearing socks during the night. It might sound weird, but the fact that wearing socks at night improves sleep is now a scientific truth. The secret lies in the thermoregulation system of the body.

The socks will warm up your feet and cause vasodilation of the small vessels which will shunt blood flow to the feet. The feet are getting warmer, but the core body temperature drops a bit. This temperature gradient between distal and core body temperature seems to be a key signal for the brain to induce sleep.

 

Temperature is one of the most critical time cues of the Circadian System!

 

A slightly colder ambient temperature indicates your body and Circadian Rhtymn that its time to sleep and promote the release of the sleep hormone Melatonin.

The research is showing that the more vasodilation in the feet, the quicker you can fall asleep. That probably explains why people have used hot water bottles near their feet under the blanket to induce sleep.

What are the perfect sleeping conditions?

If it is too cold, the body and brain must work more to regulate the temperature. It prevents us from relaxing, and falling asleep becomes much more difficult.

It is a small temperature gradient, which is the secret of falling asleep easier and maintaining sleep during the night.

If you decide to experiment and sleep with the socks on, instead of sleeping barefoot, make sure the socks are clean. It’s not too thick or too tight.

Don’t use compression socks for sleeping. The socks must be breathable, and from natural materials, like cashmere, cotton or woollen fabric.

Make sure your legs are not sweating, and you feel comfortable.

Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Sleep Deprivation?

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. This kind of diet has a powerful effect on your body, and it can improve Sleep, Body Composition and Overall Health.

Intermittent Fasting and Evolution

Eating unconsciously correct is not easy in a globalised world, where all kinds of food are available all year around. Only 50 years ago humans were obliged to eat differently and probably healthier. Food availability was determined by the time of the year, and that’s what was on the table.

If you are overwhelmed or frustrated by the different diets, the variety of supplements and superfoods, think about your ancestors and how they were eating during the different seasons. There is an evolutionary memory in your genetic code stored in the cells. All individuals inherited this memory from countless generations, and it plays an essential role in your energy metabolism.

There are many ways to distance yourself from your genetic memory and eating a banana in Northern Europe during the winter is a good example. Exaggerated and unseasonal food intake is the number one cause of obesity and chronic disease. Imagine your genetic memory as the software of your body which generates the energy necessary for life.

This software was written by evolution over thousands of years. The artificial environment was created by humankind in less than a hundred years since the electrification of the world. You cannot overwrite this software within a couple of years. Your body will pay the price. Humans thrived all over the world because they could adapt and live with the light cycles of the different seasons: the food availability in abundance and periods of starvation made part of this cycle.

Your cellular memory overpowers the desires of your taste buds!

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting And Meal Timing

Intermittent fasting within a 10-12 hour feeding window has lots of benefits for the body and brain. If the timing of food intake is right and you keep a prolonged gap between two meals, you can increase energy efficiency on a cellular level. You will reboot your circadian rhythm and get better sleep, Enhanced Autophagy (detox of the damaged cells from your body)  improved Leptin and Insulin sensitivity are positive side effects which can bring your health to the next level. In other words, intermittent fasting and meal timing are like pushing a reset button to bring our body back on track.

How Fasting Affect Sleep?

A time-restricted feeding window including a regular timed breakfast and an early dinner determines a clear feeding/fasting window which represents a time cue (biological clock) for the body. The sleep can be disturbed by overeating and eating at the wrong time. Late dinners affect our circadian clocks (circadian rhythms), and everything gets out of synchronisation, especially sleep and recovery. It is recommended to eat 3-4 hours before bed to maintain healthy sleep.

Meal Timing and Weight Issues

If you are consuming, small nutritious meals every 3 hours, you won’t burn any stored body fat for energy. On the long term, it will cause low energy level, lousy sleep, Insulin and Leptin resistance. Overweight people often suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. It’s mostly related to the wrong timing of physiological processes.

Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

By restoring your bodies ability to burn your fat stores in the fasting window, you will not only improve energy levels and sleep, but enhance mental clarity and focus as well.

Don’t believe the hype of any diet dogma!
After a period of adaptation, you will upgrade your sleep, promote better digestion, lose weight naturally and boost your general health and functional longevity.
The regularly timed meals will reset your circadian rhythm and improve sleep onset latency and sleep quality. If you want to raise the game a bit further, expose yourself to natural light without sunglasses as much as possible during the day and avoid artificial light at night.

Intermittent Fasting Tips for Better Sleep

 

Implement these six strategies to get all the benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

1. Never skip breakfast. Eat a breakfast high in proteins, healthy fats and seasonal vegetables within 30 minutes of awakening. If you still have cravings throughout the day increase your breakfast portion.

2. Face bright light preferably sunlight in the morning and get out as much as you can during the day.

3. No snacks in between the meals -rather drink water.

4. Eat dinner within 4 hours before sleep. It should be rich in vegetables, proteins and healthy fats.

5. Don’t add any extra carbohydrates as you get enough from the vegetables.

6. Try to diminish all artificial light sources in the evening and opt for absolute darkness at night.

Take this as a general prescription but feel free to adjust since we are all living in different environments which can influence us profoundly. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and keep it simple. The environmental triggers are more important than any diet or macronutrients, and intermittent fasting gets easier by exposing yourself to natural light and darkness at night.

 

How To Recover From Jet Lag And Maintain Your Sleep Routine ?

What causes jet lag?

In many ways, air travelling has improved the quality of our life. It expands our horizons and develops the personality. However, everything has a flip side. The worst enemy of any traveller is the change of time zones. Numerous studies have shown that 90% of long-distance travellers are suffering from circadian rhythm disorder, also known as “jet lag.”.

Maybe you’re a flight attendant, frequent flyer or someone who is planning an extended overseas vacation across various time zones; you are likely to experience the unpleasant phenomenon called jet lag.

Jet lag appears when your inner biological clock is still ticking at the departure time of your home location and is not yet adapted to destination time.
In this Blog Post, you will learn how to mitigate the effects of a Jet Lag and enjoy your holidays better without fatigue, headache and other circadian rhythm disorders. If you are a business traveller, pilot or flight assistant you will appreciate the positive effects for professional reasons.

How long does jet lag last and why it occurs?

A jet lag is a temporary disorder of your inner biological timing system and may last for a couple of days. This so-called circadian mismatch causes many unspecific symptoms like fatigue or insomnia. Our inner circadian rhythm keeps our body in synchronisation with the day and night cycles caused by the rotation of planet earth. The mammalian internal master clock is controlling our circadian rhythms. Its a group of approximately 20,000 neurons just above the optic nerve in the brain.

This Master Clock reacts to the rising and setting of the sun with its different light frequencies and temperature variations and releases specific neurotransmitter and hormones in a cyclical manner which can cause alertness or sleepiness. The circadian rhythm controls everything from the bowel movement, energy metabolism, blood sugar, hormone and neurotransmitter secretion to sleep.

What that means is when we travel through different time zones our inner biological clock and its specific rhythms remain for a couple of days in the time zone of the departure latitude and adapt only slowly to the time zone at the destination.

What is the circadian rhythm (internal biological clock)?

The circadian rhythm is the most critical mechanism for health in general, and with simple lifestyle and environmental changes, you can improve sleep, wakefulness and overall energy levels during your stay in other time zones.

It is essential to know for people often travelling through different time zones that the primary influencers of the internal biological clock are external time cues like light, food intake, temperature and physical activity. The body and brain can react to this time cues, and we can use them to reset the circadian clock and improve the symptoms of a jet lag.

What are the jet lag symptoms ? Can jet lag make you sick?

A jet lag can have a profound effect on your bodies circadian rhythm. The two most significant symptoms are insomnia at night and fatigue during the day accompanied by a decline in alertness, which is temporary and disappears after a few days adaptation in the destination country. Every day, millions of travellers suffer from jet leg symptoms like fatigue and insomnia.

People experiencing a jet lag may also have many other unspecific symptoms like an unexplainable lack of energy, anxiety, sleepiness during the daytime and alertness at night. Other signs of a jet lag are heartbeat arrhythmias, constipation, diarrhoea, headache, irritability, nausea, difficulties concentrating, sweating, and a general decline in well being. Some people also describe an increased susceptibility to illness.

Should you take preventive measures to adjust the jet lag?

When travelling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are not adapting immediately to the destination time and remain on their original biological schedule for days. This can result in the jet lag symptoms previously described. A Jet Lag is not an imagination but a real health condition caused by a circadian rhythm disorder. Some concerns regarding your flight schedule and specific behavioural measures before departure, during the journey and after arrival at your destination can help minimise some of the side effects of travelling through time zones.

A Jet lag is a temporary condition, and healthy people usually recover in 3 to 5 days. If you are a business traveller or if you want to enjoy your time at an overseas destination as fast as possible with good energy levels you need to opt for some adjustments and adapt your master clock to the local time cues.

 

Take the following steps to prevent and mitigate the effects of a jet lag:

 

Tip 1. When booking a long distance flight, consider a trip with an arrival time at the destination in the afternoon or early evening.
You can go straight after the flight for a light dinner. This way, you can adapt to the time zone from the first day, and the unpleasant experience of the Jet Lag will be less intense. Schedule long flights across more than eight time zones with a layover half the way. This way, you can adapt gradually to the time zone at the destination. Too long voyages are a strain for body and nervous system. A break can alleviate stress and mitigate jet lag.

Tip 2. Don’t go to bed until its bedtime at your destination.
If you arrive in the morning at your destination after an exhausting flight, don’t go to bed and sleep. Relax in the hotel spa or have a walk in the bright daylight. Don’t do intense activities on the first day at your destination. Light is a time cue for your Master Clock and signals daytime while your brain is probably still wired for night time at home.

Tip 3. Do not drink alcoholic one day before, during and one day after the flight.
Alcohol causes dehydration, disrupts the sleeping pattern, lowers heart rate variability and can reduce general well-being.

Tip 4. Stay hydrated all the time.
The dry air and air pressure differences cause dehydration and discomfort. Take plenty of water on the plane, so you never run out of it. The little cups and bottles served on the aircraft are not enough liquid to meet your bodies needs.

Tip 5. Avoid coffee or caffeinated drinks before, during, or just after the flight.
Caffeine causes dehydration and interferes with sleep onset. Caffeine also causes anxiety and stress, which is already intense during transatlantic flights.

Tip 6: Wear comfortable clothes and prepare your flight kit.
Wear warm and comfortable clothes, socks and shoes. Avoid tied pants or shirts which pinch and restrict you in your movements. Get the right outfit for the climate at your destination and take it with you in your hand luggage. On a long flight, the air-conditioning makes it sometimes impossible to feel comfortable. Make sure you have a light, warm jacket or sweater.

 

Your Travel Kit for overseas flight should contain:
– a sleep mask
– noise control earplugs or headphones
– anti-blue light glasses for the in-flight entertainment and screens.

 

 

Tip 7. Jet lag light therapy -expose yourself to natural light.
Use bright light or better natural sunlight in the morning to readjust your circadian rhythm. Sunlight is a critical time cue for the master clock in the brain. Morning sunlight exposure improves alertness, energy levels and improves sleep onset at night. If you wake up later, expose yourself to afternoon sunlight. Light exposure is essential for aligning your inner circadian rhythm to earth time at the latitude of your destination. You can buy small dawn simulators and take them with you if you are travelling to the northern latitudes in the wintertime.

It will help you to overcome the jet lag symptoms fast. If you arrive at 7 p.m. go to bed at your usual schedule at home. If your arrival time is at 7 in the morning have a light breakfast, expose yourself to natural light without sunglasses all day and try to stay awake till the evening. A power nap during the day is good to relax but make sure you put your alarm clock next to you, so you don’t sleep till the evening and screw up your sleep at night.

Tip 8. Check your hotel room.
At arrival in your destination, check your hotel room, especially the noise exposure, bed, air-condition and safety. Change the room in case something is wrong. You want to stay in a safe, quiet and well-tempered room on your holidays or business trip. If this is not the case, you might sleep with half the brain awake, which is a safety mechanism from evolution to keep us alert in strange environments.

Tip 9: Wear anti-blue light glasses starting in the early evening to simulate sunset.
The lower blue light frequencies indicate the brain that its time to sleep. The release and action of hormones like Melatonin will make you fall asleep easier.

Tip 10: Consider taking Melatonin as a supplement for jet lag recovery.
Many people take Melatonin supplements already, but there is not sufficient evidence to confirm its effectiveness. According to my experience, re-adjusting time cues like light, food timing and temperature are more effective.

Valerian root is a supplement with a light sedative effect and can be helpful during the first three days to improve sleep onset at night in the destination. Check with your pharmacist for more details. The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details before taking any supplement or sleeping medication.

Tip 11. Time your meals wisely.
Food is a powerful Zeitgeber to improve circadian rhythm, and regularly timed meals can help you to overcome jet lag symptoms fast. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the local time, not when you are hungry. If it is time for breakfast at your destination, you should have breakfast. If you are not hungry, have a light meal. It will give your body the message to set your metabolism to local time. Shortly, your energy levels will improve as well.

Tip 12. Do simple exercises.
Consider exercises in the hotel gym or better outside. You might think it’s not a good idea, and your body is likely to protest, but simple exercises will increase the blood flow, improve your energy and solve the problem with the sleep cycle. Don’t strain yourself but do some simple exercises to warm up. You can do it!

Does Melatonin Help With Sleep Deprivation?

Maybe you are a shift worker or a manager travelling through various time zones for business. Or perhaps you are working during the night in front of a bright computer screen and catching up on sleep in the morning.

Either way, you are disrupting your inner biological clock, and sooner or later you will pay the price by developing insomnia and chronic health conditions. Nowadays, modern humans often mess with their internal biological timekeeping system and many times night become a day or vice versa.

The good news is that you can reset your inner biological clock to mitigate the effects of the modern lifestyle with so-called Zeitgeber. That’s a word from the science of Chronobiology and means Time Cue. The three most critical natural Zeitgebers are Light, Temperature and Food. Being periodically exposed to these time cues at the right time of the 24-hour  cycle is decisive for health and wellbeing.

What Is Circadian Rhythm and How Does Our Inner Biological Timekeeping System Works?

Our inner biological clock is located in the brain and keeps our body in sync with the light and dark cycles of the planet earth. It is called the Circadian Clock System. Circadian Clock adapts every cell in our body to the changes between day and night which are caused by the earth’s rotation around its axis.

Hormones and neurotransmitters are typically released rhythmically and in synchronisation with the periodical changes in nature. However, most of us are living in an artificial environment where normal time cues of nature are abolished. We often lose control of our hormones and neurotransmitter. The consequences are poor sleep, bad recovery and low energy levels.

We can find the pacemaker of the circadian timekeeping system in the brain, precisely in the Hypothalamus. The central pacemaker in the brain is called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus or short SCN. The SCN is tightly linked to the different light frequencies entering the eye’s retina and sets the pace for all other cells in the body.

Think of it as a GPS on your mobile phone or in the car. If the satellite tells the wrong time, the other devices go wrong as well. A second difference in the timing can interfere and disrupt GPS equipment for hours. The same happens with our central pacemaker in the brain when the timing is off. If the eye scans the wrong impulses (like the blue light at night)in the Central Pacemaker (SCN) all cells, tissues and organ systems are negatively influenced.

The best example is the hormone melatonin. This hormone is released during night time to induce the deep and restorative sleep. If we are receiving from the environment light frequencies, similar to daylight at night, the hormone release will be delayed, and the consequence is a later onset of sleep. All hormones and organ systems react to the central pacemaker. If you are exposed to artificial light frequencies at night, the whole system gets out of control.

People living in constant circadian mismatches like shift workers pay the toll with diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, autoimmunity and cancer. Scientists can link almost every illness to a Circadian Mismatch. Doctors, nurses, shift workers and everyone else who are introducing artificial blue light frequencies into their evening and night have one thing in common. The circadian timekeeping system is out of order.

Is Melatonin Good For You?

There are many supplements and protocols on the market to mitigate the effects of a circadian mismatch, but there is one inconvenient truth!

You cannot out-supplement nature in the long term!

Nowadays, melatonin is one of the most popular supplements. Many scientific studies show the beneficial effects of melatonin especially for people living and working in a circadian mismatch. The temporary low dose of melatonin supplementation for people with a circadian sleep disorder can be helpful. It’s also a good supplement to mitigate the negative effects of a jet lag.

The question is should you take melatonin as a supplement on longterm?

How much melatonin should you take to have beneficial effects?

Melatonin also called the night hormone because of its sleep-promoting and antioxidant properties. It’s essential for the brain and bodies regeneration process during the night.

How Is Melatonin Produced?

Our bodies produce the hormone melatonin in response to the changing light frequencies. When the sun slowly disappears, our body temperature cools down, and melatonin is released. It’s important to know that darkness stimulates melatonin secretion in the pineal gland whereas exposure to light inhibits this mechanism.

Melatonin is produced in the body when the sun goes down. The lower blue light frequencies are picked up by the eye’s retina, and this signal is transferred to the circadian pacemaker (SCN) in the brain. From there, the electric signal goes to the pineal gland where most of the melatonin is produced and released. The effect of the increased melatonin levels in the circulation makes us tired and drowsy. If we go to sleep in absolute darkness, melatonin release can be ten times higher. During the night this essential hormone is being carried to all organ systems of the body signalling that its night time to switch gears in all biological systems for rest and repair.

How Does Melatonin Work?

Scientific evidence supports two crucial roles for melatonin in humans:

1. Inducing and maintaining sleep. It is important to know that the process of sleep is complicated. Melatonin is not the only hormone involved in sleep, but it makes us sleep and recover better.

2. Melatonin has essential health benefits because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can neutralise reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulated during the day and can, therefore, protect cells, tissues and organ systems.

Melatonin is not only produced in the brain. Smaller amounts are released from the cells of the reproductive organs, the eye and the gut. Melatonin is crucial for the regeneration of our energy factories in the cells called mitochondria. The lack of energy after a poor night sleep is linked to insufficiently functioning mitochondria.

Sounds like a remarkable substance?

Some people say that it could be important to supplement melatonin in our sleep deprived societies. Often, melatonin is prescribed to patients with sleep deprivation or insomnia. It is effective in treating certain sleep disorders such as jet lag and insomnia in elderly people.

Why Is Supplementing The Melatonin a Temporary Sleep Solution?

You should not blindly supplement! There is more to the story. I consider a lack of melatonin and its symptoms a health issue. Supplementing Melatonin means hiding the cause of the problem. Melatonin is an endogenously (inside our body) produced hormone and supplementing; it means interfering with the natural negative feedback loop in our body. Darkness implies rest and repair, and under normal conditions, our tissues should release the right substances at the right time to help that process.

Melatonin secretion is triggered by the darkness and has its negative feedback loop. That means if you take it as a supplement the pineal gland and the eye will stop producing the right amount necessary for regeneration. Many scientific studies show that melatonin supplementation can also cause side effects like anxiety, daytime sleepiness, headaches, abdominal symptoms, irritability and even symptoms of depression. These are all signs of interference with the natural tryptophan-serotonin-melatonin cycle.

Naturally, humans are preparing for the nocturnal melatonin release in the morning. Sounds counterintuitive especially since we know it is a night hormone. But in the morning we are setting the pace for release of especially that sleep hormone at night.

To understand that we must analyse the melatonin synthesis from tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, and we ingest it with our diet. There is a lot of tryptophan-rich food. Tryptophan from our dietary intake is transformed via 5- hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) into serotonin. When night comes, we make melatonin out of serotonin. Factors like stress, the light environment and diet can interfere with this process.

What Are The Factors That Influence Melatonin Production At Night?

Scientific studies reveal that circadian disruption interrupts the clock gene expression of our biological timekeeping system which also changes the neurotransmitter systems. Impaired activity of neurotransmitters is linked to depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Morning light exposure reset the circadian rhythm, improves neurotransmitter activity and indirectly responsible for the improvement of melatonin release at night in the absence of artificial light.

 

  • First of all, you should get enough morning light. Natural morning light exposure reset our circadian rhythm which influences the secretion of the mood-enhancing monoamines like Serotonine and Dopamine positively.

 

  • Lower blue light frequencies in the evening. The absolute darkness at night in your bedroom is necessary for proper melatonin secretion. Even the smallest dim blue light suppresses melatonin. Long nights in front of the TV, Computer or mobile device will activate cortisol levels which promote wakefulness and the light at night inhibits the release of melatonin.

 

  • High-Stress Levels for whatever reason at night, shift the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan into an inflammatory catabolic process called Kynurenine Metabolism. The result is less serotonin and lower levels of melatonin with consequences like depression, sleep deprivation and diverse mood disorders.

 

  • Food. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and as a precursor necessary for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin. The daily intake of sufficient tryptophan-rich food is beneficial for melatonin production. High tryptophan foods include nuts, seeds, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. The recommended intake for tryptophan is 4mg per kilogram of body weight or 1.8mg per pound. Note that food alone is not enough. You must be able to transform tryptophan into serotonin and later into melatonin. The light environment is essential to that process.

 

How Many mg Of Melatonin Can You Take? When Should You Take It?

If you are a healthy person, do NOT take melatonin as a supplement. Re-adjust your circadian timekeeping system with light cues during the day and lower blue light frequencies during the evening.

However, in some situations, 1 mg of melatonin can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This is as especially true for the people working in shifts and for jet lag. If you suffer intensely from jet lag when flying into different time zones, a low dose of 0,5-1 mg of melatonin close to target bedtime in your destination can be helpful.

By tricking the brain with melatonin, you can mitigate the effects of the sleep deprivation you were exposed to. But once you are adapted in the new time zone, taking melatonin is not advisable because of the interference of the supplement in the negative feedback mechanism of the hormone axis. Before using melatonin, you should change your artificial blue light environment first.

Do not use melatonin supplements when exposed to continuous artificial blue light!

Melatonin is produced in the lens and retina triggered by darkness to regenerate the cells of the eye. Supplementation suppresses the endogenous production which can interfere with the visual and timekeeping mechanisms of the eye.

Stay healthy!