Blue Light and Cortisol
I read some shocking information that 70% of adolescents get less than 8 hours of sleep. We undervalue the importance of sleep and when kids are getting less than 8 hours of sleep, it is linked to depression, attention issues, weight gain, blood sugar issues and more.
When I consult clients, one of the questions I ask is “Do you sleep well?” However, I had to change my question to, “How long do you sleep?” Clients often responded to my question about sleeping well with a “yes” but when I would ask them how long they slept, it was often 5 or 6 hours. OF COURSE you slept well! You are sleep deprived!
Too often so-called nutrition “experts” only focus on what their clients are eating and how it influence our weight and health, but in reality, there are many more pieces to the puzzle. I focus on the controlling hormones and healing hormones to help my clients lose weight and get healthy.
“Hormones influence weight loss and weight gain. Controlling your hormones are the key to weight loss!” Maria Emmerich
One hormone I help client’s control is cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol changes throughout the day, with the highest peak being in the morning (to help wake you up), then lowering through the day with the lowers being in the evening.
Most people do not realize how important this hormone is and that how they go about their day can really influence their levels of cortisol.
If you suffer from chronic stress, cortisol levels can become too high. If cortisol stays elevated for a prolonged period of time, it can have an array of negative effects on the body, including high blood sugar levels, weight gain, sleep problems, depression and more. Luckily, there are a few different ways you can naturally lower cortisol!
Too often I have clients that workout later in the day. I mistakenly did this decades ago when I was training for a marathon. My sleep started getting terrible. Why? I was running 12 miles in the afternoon, causing my cortisol to rise, which caused my melatonin to not rise like it should for proper sleep. I ended up gaining weight, despite running for hours. My cortisol was causing issues with my sleep, blood sugars and mood. For more about this, check out THIS book.
Cortisol is responsible for uncontrollable weight gain for a few reasons. It increases the rate of insulin production and blood sugar issues. Cortisol increases appetite and causes cravings for sweets and refined fat foods, such as chips. Even though I wasn’t eating sugar or chips, I was eating completely keto, I was gaining weight because elevated cortisol levels cause the body to produce less testosterone (women need testosterone too), leading to a decrease in muscle mass. With less testosterone to build muscle, your body starts to burn fewer calories (lower basal metabolic rate). Plus, my elevated cortisol was causing very poor sleep which also increased my weight.
I do not know if you are like me, but I primarily watch TV or movies with my boys in the evening, before bed. Why is this a problem? The blue light from screens can really affect your cortisol and in turn, mess with melatonin.
When we are exposed to blue light, cortisol rises because our brain thinks that this blue light is the same as morning light from the sun.
Melatonin is an antagonist to cortisol. Melatonin can’t be produced when we are exposed to blue light.
Melatonin is an antioxidant, it helps us sleep better, it helps us recover. One of the ways to ensure that you have proper melatonin levels at night is to remove artificial blue light in the evening. If you are like me and use computers or television in the evening, then take steps to block out the blue light by wearing BluBLOX glasses and using red light bulbs in those rooms. Blublox now has these amazing, low EMF, flicher free, red light bulbs called Lumi Sleep+. Use them in rooms or lamps that you can turn on in the evening to limit the blue light exposure.
Melatonin is highest in the middle of the night. It has a part to play in almost every biological process in the human body. The reason that many babies are born at 2am is because that is when melatonin is highest and melatonin mixes with oxytocin to induce labor!
Why supplement with melatonin when you can naturally produce it with a few lifestyle changes?
3 Ways to Enhance MELATONIN PRODUCTION:
1. Expose yourself to the sun during the morning and throughout the day.
BLUblox has spent 12 months researching and developing two optimal light bulbs to transform your light environment. They created Lumi SummerGlo and Lumi Sleep+. Lumi SummerGlo is the perfect low blue light bulb for daytime use. Lumi eradicates the nasty blue LED light spike at 465nm that could be causing digital eyestrain and headaches at the end of the day. Lumi Sleep+ eliminates 100% of all blue and green light between 400-580nm allowing you to unwind in the evening and prepare your body for sleep. Lumi light bulbs are LED but do not flicker, they are low EMF and have a long lifespan, making them the world’s first optimal circadian lighting solution for our modern world.
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3. Get yourself and your family BluBLOX glasses to eliminate blue light in the evenings when you are working on the computer, watching television or on your iPhone.
We searched for a company that made glasses that blocked 100% of these blue and green wavelengths. We found the company called BLUblox. They make glasses that block 100% of the blue and green wavelengths needed to naturally allow your body to produce melatonin.
Many cheaper glasses will only block blue light making them less effective. BLUblox block all wavelength of blue and green light that have been shown in studies to interfere with the body’s natural melatonin production. And many cheaper glasses you don’t want to be seen wearing around your friends. BLUblox not only block out all the right wavelengths, but they are stylish too! They come in many styles and shapes.
I usually put my BluBlox glasses on around 5pm. It is best to stop blocking all the blue light about 3 hours before bedtime to allow the body to naturally produce melatonin. With stylish blue blocking glasses, you can start wearing them in the evening while still hanging out with friends. They even make a good conversation starter! You are biohacking your sleep. 🙂