Got light? Winter blues are getting a lot of us by this point in December. For some, it is as if we have a serious depressive disorder when all we need is a way to get our body clocks back in order. Those body clocks are called circadian rhythms and are set in nature with the rising and setting of the sun.
I have been researching a lot about circadian rhythm enhancement these days. I see clients who are feeling a little bit down, sluggish and out of sorts. What I have found is astounding. Many people are being treated with anti depressants, but there is a great, natural way around it.
When circadian rhythms are disrupted, even if it’s not at the point of being diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), we are at a greater risk of developing cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, hypothyroidism, and a host of other diseases. According to Paul Jaminett, PH.D., infertility and obesity may also be circadian rhythm disorders. Our immune systems are the strongest when our circadian rhythms are on beat. So instead of being sick and fat there is a lot you can do.
The easiest strategy to correct an offbeat circadian rhythm is, you guessed it, light therapy. There are many sunshine-simulating lights available HERE on my website, that when used for ½ hour a day, usually in the early morning, will help tremendously. You can take a test HERE that will determine the best time for you individually to use the light.
Other tips for keeping your circadian rhythm functioning well:
1) Get outdoors in the early morning, and afternoon for a quick walk or bike ride or any other type of moderate exercise you like. 10-20 minutes. Being outside in daylight is key. Even if it’s cold, grey, cloudy or yuck, it’s still daylight. I’ve been dressing warmly, walking outdoors early in the morning and in the afternoon. It really makes me feel good.
2) Restrict computer and TV viewing at night. Ending at least one hour before bedtime. It really makes a difference, try it. There is an app you can download HERE that adjusts the light of your computer, iPad and or iPhone screen for day and nighttime.
3) I just bought a pair of light blocking glasses that filter out stimulating blue light and give everything a yellow or brownish glow. I bought them HERE. I look a little too cool walking around the house in them, but hey, I do what I gotta do!
4) Limit or eliminate reading just before bedtime by a bright incandescent light bulb, which can stimulate your brain and disrupt circadian rhythms, and melatonin production.
5) Begin to turn down or turn off all bright lights in your house about ½ hour before bedtime, leaving a few candles in their place. I love it! It’s so retro! It’s so much fun to buy all shapes, sizes and scented candles.
6) Eliminate ALL light in your bedroom. This includes blue light from LED on alarm clocks, green power light on an electric toothbrush, and streetlights shining in through your bedroom window. If you can’t eliminate all the light, use a sleep mask like Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Yup, getting your circadian rhythm on can be very glam.
7) Another important “to do” in winter is limit hibernating activities and engage in more social activities. Get friends together for day trips or just to sit by the fireplace.
Find cool Jazz bands, and other indoor musical fun, museums, movie fests, and shows of all kinds.
The local zoo is a fun stop in winter, and usually not very crowded. Book a hayride or bundle up and visit a nearby farm. Those winter nature trips have their own special feeling. Did I get you in the mood? Go for it!
8) Adoption of a bedtime that allows a full night’s rest, and is consistent from
night to night.
9) And you knew I was gonna say it; no daytime carbs. Yes I am a crazy woman about balancing insulin. Unbalanced insulin during the day is really bad for circadian rhythms. If your going to have a potato have it in the evening, puh-lease!!!
Before you know it, you’ll be feeling so happy and full of energy, you might think its summer already! Or maybe you’ll think you woke up on a great vacation in some exotic place. Even when you realize you are home and it’s winter, all those great ‘happy chemicals’ will be hard at work.
Best of all, these things will contribute to a much healthier, happier and productive winter season for everyone who follows these tips. It’s an investment that’s well worth the effort!
Be green, never be blue, eat the rainbow.
with love and many blessings,