Illuminating Health: Harnessing the Power of Light for Optimal Well-being
Biohacking Your Light Environment: Red Light Therapy, Sunrise to Sunset, and Beyond
Shortly after 2020, when I underwent a botched colonoscopy resulting in the loss of my colon after battling severe Crohn's disease for nearly 8 years, I reached the end of my rope with conventional medicine. The allopathic healthcare system let me down, leaving me in a worse state than before, burdened with irreversible damage from a colectomy.
Thanks be to God, as this arduous and painful journey propelled me towards embracing alternative medicine. It was during the early stages of my recovery, a few months after the operation, that I fortuitously stumbled upon a remarkable individual named Dr. Jack Kruse, whose teachings have become a frequent point of reference in my discussions.
Though Jack's demeanor may be brusque, and I now find myself at odds with some of his views, particularly regarding the efficacy of supplements, his expertise on the subject of light is unparalleled.
Upon delving into his body of work, I became wholeheartedly dedicated to optimizing my circadian health. This involved diligently utilizing blue blockers at night, minimizing exposure to blue light whenever possible, and ensuring I absorbed ample amounts of the rejuvenating rays of the morning sun and the calming hues of sunset. Astonishingly, I experienced significant improvements in my well-being, surpassing any previous milestones.
Since then, my health journey has traversed a considerable distance, with many more milestones awaiting me on the horizon. However, when it comes to the topic of light, I can confidently share my insights. So, let us now plunge into the realm of biohacking your light environment.
Escape the Clutches of Blue Light!
The inaugural piece I penned for this blog delved into the pernicious effects of blue light. The majority of your screens and ghastly fluorescent bulbs are deceiving your body into believing it's a radiant, midday sun at noon.
In reality, you find yourself nestled in bed, fixated on your phone, wondering why slumber eludes you. As an individual who wrestled with debilitating insomnia, I experienced this firsthand. What felt like teetering on the precipice of insanity could have been remedied by a simple lifestyle adjustment.
Upon discovering the wonders of circadian biology, my sleep issues were almost miraculously resolved. And how did I achieve this fix? It was as straightforward as obtaining a pair of blue-blocking glasses and donning them as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon.
Here are some nifty tricks for mitigating the impact of blue light:
Employ amber bulbs during the nighttime hours (I use these)
Invest in a pair of blue-blocking glasses (I love RA optics - always discounts available, great resource is a guy on twitter called Blue Light Diet)
Consider utilizing Iris software, which allows you to customize the color temperature of your computer screen to your liking.
Turn on light mode for android or turn iPhone screen red (think this video works for iPhone)
Open the windows and invite natural light to infiltrate your surroundings, thereby harmonizing the light spectrum in your office or bedroom (bear in mind that red light, impeded by glass, enters the equation).
Embrace the Radiance of Morning Light!
The significance of basking in the morning sun has gained considerable traction, with individuals like Andrew Huberman, PhD, tirelessly emphasizing its importance to their audiences.
AM sunlight plays a pivotal role in kickstarting our circadian rhythm. But why is it so crucial? It's because we need a surge in cortisol levels and a gentle suppression of melatonin.
Furthermore, the near-infrared (NIR) light emitted by the morning sun acts as the conductor of our body's internal clock, signaling the time for melatonin release and initiating the nightly reparative processes (to find out more about this, read my article on melatonin). NIR light also aids in the synthesis of melatonin, making it indispensable for optimizing melatonin production.
Here are some strategies to harness the power of AM light:
Rise with the sun, synchronizing your awakening with the dawn.
Resist the temptation to immediately reach for your phone upon waking.
Strive to spend at least 10 minutes absorbing the rejuvenating morning light.
If you find yourself awake in the early hours, shield your eyes with blue blockers until the sun has fully ascended, ensuring minimal exposure to potentially disruptive blue light.
Capture the Beauty of the Setting Sun!
In parallel with sunrise, sunset also plays a significant role in promoting health. The gentle glow of low-intensity red light during this time signals the body to initiate the release of melatonin, consequently suppressing cortisol.
Instinctively, witnessing a serene sunset proves to be one of the most soothing experiences. It's challenging to feel anxious when you're immersed in the captivating hues of a blood-red or orange ball of fire.
Here are some tips to make the most of this magical time:
Allocate an ample amount of time around sunset, allowing yourself to unwind and prepare for a restful evening.
Once the sun has fully set, put on a pair of blue-blocking glasses as you ease into your nighttime routine.
Cultivate a habit of prioritizing this sunset ritual, ensuring you can consistently partake in this serene experience.
Find additional ways to enhance your sunset experience, such as enjoying a leisurely walk, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in calming activities that align with your personal preferences.
Remember, cherishing the beauty of a sunset can serve as a tranquil transition into a peaceful night's sleep.
Embrace the Power of Red-Light Therapy!
One of my personal favorite bio-hacks revolves around the utilization of red-light therapy. Each morning, 90% of my routine involves sitting in front of my trusty red-light device. It stands as one of the most valuable investments I have made for my overall health.
For those residing in the United States, it's not uncommon to encounter stretches of cloud cover throughout the year, limiting exposure to bright natural light. In such cases, incorporating a red-light therapy device can prove to be an effective solution to combat this light deficiency.
Moreover, these devices work wonders as ambient lighting before bedtime, whether you're engrossed in a captivating book or engaging in moments of prayer and reflection. The gentle red light emitted creates a serene and calming atmosphere.
By incorporating red light therapy into your daily routine, you can harness its benefits for promoting cellular rejuvenation, optimizing circadian rhythm, and potentially enhancing overall well-being.
Stack red light therapy with other modalities: use methylene blue to feel as if you just absorbed the whole sun.
Timing for optimal circadian rhythm alignment: Use red light therapy strategically to align with your circadian rhythm. Using red light therapy in the morning to support cortisol awakening response and melatonin regulation, or in the evening to facilitate relaxation and preparation for sleep.
Use in conjunction with a UV light setup during low UV index months (this is what I do in winter)
Well, that’s it for this week! If you have any questions drop em below and I would be happy to answer them and provide any needed resources. Remember that many of these bio-hacks are accessible and require minimal effort, making them easy to integrate into our daily routines.
Let's prioritize our light environment and cultivate optimal health. Here's to embracing the power of light for a brighter, healthier future!