As a doctor of the healthcare field, I am learning more about health every day. This learning is never very clear until I reach some place of understanding. It is an interesting process for me and I always struggle in some way.
The struggle is in believing that it’s there. We all get some hints that life is providing some nugget of truth for us, but I feel that the struggle for all of us is trusting that sense that makes us wonder. We all seem to question ourselves before we take the time and try to listen to the message of a new understanding.
In this article I am going to talk about sleep. I will give some facts that I learned in my studies that I assume you do not know and share my insights of things that I have been pondering.
In the most general sense, sleep is our rest both bodily and neurologically. Our immune system and our detoxification systems are allowed to run more efficiently and we enter a parasympathetic state. The parasympathetic state is an autonomic nervous system state that a majority of healing can be done. You may understand this better by knowing this is the opposite pole of the sympathetic system which controls and coordinates our fight and flight response.
Light is a major indicator to the rhythms of our bodies. Our brain stem can sense light and has the ability to start the transition from wakefulness to sleep. It can also tell the pineal gland to make and then release melatonin. When this system experiences light, it triggers the pineal gland to make melatonin and when light is gone the pineal is told to release melatonin. This also helps with the sleep cycle, and a little known fact, is that melatonin is a very strong anti-oxidation agent. This means melatonin helps to fix ongoing cellular damage. In sum, melatonin heals.
Evolutionary stressors on our bodies led us to continue the sleep cycle. As mentioned above light is a major player. Imagine before fire our only light was sunlight. We cannot see well in the dark as other animals can, and that is not a bad thing, it just means that it was not that important as a species. So a majority of the development of our physical bodies was completely on a solar cycle with its rising and falling for millions of years. Then we figure out how to start a fire when we need to and our night changes. Our eyes and bodies now had light going on after sunset (as a wood fire) and the major form of light was red and infrared. This is at a spectrum that gives off heat. This is not seen but felt as heat and red-orange and yellow light.
Sunlight has all the light waves and blue light is a frequency that is higher than red and infrared. The blue light frequency hits the atmosphere and it gets reflected. This makes the sky blue and stimulates the nervous system to indulge in the day. Blue light from LED, which is the light for our screens triggers the same process if we were under a bright blue sky…This is not an amazing revelation but is profound when it comes to the systems in our bodies that adjusted to the solar light, then fire, and now the blue light at night that was only experienced during the day.
Walk through the villages of our ancestors from a time before electric light became available at night. Look into the windows, cracks in the walls, seams in the tarps, snow walls and mastodon bone huts and to the entrances of caves or the open field. You only saw in the red and yellow glow. Now fast forward to today…Walk the avenues and streets and look into the domicles and you will see the flickering of a “cold blue flame”.
So, as you can see when you give technology a historical perspective, you can understand how our brains and nerves must accommodate a light (stimulus/stressor) that is very recent. If you need to read, use a book, I find that a biography is best as a way to learn but can put you out fast.
Remember, an inability to get your needed sleep is a health problem and the cause can be the state of health to your body. In our videos on FaceBook we talk about blood sugar, emotion, nutrition and technological causes of sleep disturbances. If you feel it is emotional or mental it would be good to seek a professional. The company “isleep” has a test they will send you for under $300 to see if you have sleep apnea.
I hope the article helped you understand the process of sleep and light and if you have questions, you can always ask. Send us an email with any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org!