What is Artificial Light
Artificial light is any light spectra that does not occur in nature without human intervention. Even a spectrum behind a glass window is considered an artificial light source. The main sources of artificial light come from phones, computers, tablets, LEDs, fluorescent bulbs, etc. Basically, everything that is not natural sunlight. It is almost impossible to avoid in today’s modern world, but we want to provide solutions to mitigate this environmental stressor as much as possible.
The History Of Lighting
The light bulb has been a massive vehicle for the evolution of human civilization. It was among the first aspects of our environment that humans learned to control, and thus greatly improved our quality of life in one aspect. However, humans lost sight of the fact that our physiology is acutely tuned to the influences of nature. While our minds may have the ability to diverge from nature’s laws of construct fake lighting, our physiology remains bound to the reality of our evolutionary environment.
As you can see in the picture above, the light bulb came into existence in 1879, and before the state of light emitting diodes (LEDs), we used fire, oil lamps, and candles as our lighting. Humans continued to develop fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs that subtract our vast portions of the visible and non-visible light spectrum, have a toxic color temperature and an unnatural flicker rate. The transition from natural light sources (red/amber) to bright artificial blue light has been extremely fast and correlates strikingly with the rise in autoimmune and degenerative diseases.
The major downfall of modern lighting is the agreement among industry leaders that invisible wavelengths are of no value and are an energetic waste. The creation of “greener”, energy-efficient bulbs subtract out ultraviolet and infrared ranges and over-emphasize blue frequencies. When we look at the natural frequencies of sunlight, it contains all spectrums of light which are beneficial for our circadian rhythm. Yes, these lights may do a great job at minimizing costs, but they are a catastrophe for human physiology. The invisible wavelengths (UV & IR) are crucial for human biology and metabolic processes within our body, such as proper deep restful sleep, energy production in our cells/mitochondria, and a complete reduction in stress.
Different Types of Light
The sun was the only source of light for biological systems for thousands of years. For humans, this means sunlight, fire from combustible materials, candles, oil lamps, and finally incandescent bulbs. The incandescent bulb powered with electrical filament was the first electrical light source without smoke and the last artificial light source with a natural spectrum. As you can see in the picture above, the artificial lights have an abnormal spectral distribution, color temperature (not enough red frequencies), unnatural flicker, and are divorced from the blackbody radiation curve of natural light sources.
Dangers of Artificial Light
Your brain filters out flicker, so it is mostly unnoticeable, but your biology always registers and is stressed by flicker. Your brain needs more metabolic energy to process this negative influence. When light (especially LEDs) are connecto to an electrical source that delivers power in an alternating current of varying frequencies (US uses 60hz, the world standard is 50hz) the flicker. Human biology runs on a direct current (DC) and is stressed by man-made AC electricity. LEDs that flicker must be used in conjunction with a DC converting device. The adverse effects of flicker include stroboscopic effects, migraines, autistic behavior, metabolic dysfunction, eye strain, and epilepsy.
The most common way artificial light causes AMD is by photochemical mechanism. Photochemical reactions happen in normal, ambient conditions and ivnolve a reaction between energetic photons and an absorbing molecule in the presence of oxygen, which leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS that are highly toxic to the retina. What makes it even worse is when we consume many polyunsaturated fats and iron fortified food that create an age pigment in the body called lipofuscin.
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that regulates feelings of tiredness and wakefulness. Outside factors such as light affects the functioning of your circadian rhythm because your body relies on light to regulate your body’s metabolism.
Your circadian rhythm is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. When it is dark your eyes send signals to the hypothalamus, triggering it to release melatonin, which makes your body tired. When you are exposed to too much light, the hypothalamus thinks it is still day time (midday sun) and your melatonin levels remain low, which can cause serious medical issues.
This is why being exposed to artificial light and digital devices that use LED can ruin your sleeping pattern. Sleep deficiency caused by artificial light can lead to further problems with your mental and physical health such as: memory loss, neurotoxin build up, weakened immune strength, breast cancer, prostate cancer, insomnia, diabetes and gut issues.
Studies have connected the diagnosis of breast and prostate cancer to over-exposure to artificial light. This is because of how light interferes with the production of melatonin, which should peak at night and reduce during the day.
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health performed a study that analysed how residents in large cities might be affected by the artificial blue light at night. The results found that residents of these cities had double the risk of developing prostate cancer and 1.5X higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Similarly, studies have found that people who perform regular night shift work or stay up late (being around bright lights) are also at risk because they are going against their natural circadian rhythm.
- Make it a lifestyle habit of getting 20-30 minutes of sunlight with as much skin exposed (preferably in the morning hours). The more the better.
- Avoid PUFA & iron fortified foods as these can oxidize within the body, especially when under UV light.
- Crack car windows when driving & open doors/windows inside home.
- Switch LEDs & fluorescents to incandescent and use more red light around your environment (especially when the sun is not out yet). Go to lightbulbs.com
- Download iristech.co for computers and use a red light filter for phone (click for video)
- Use blue blocking glasses (use Nathan to save 10%) 1-2 hours before bed and during the day if you have to be on a computer or around LEDs, etc.
- Invest in a Gembared Light;(use consciouslift to save $$) a form of photobiomodulation that helps regenerate our cells from the detrimental effects of artificial light, reduces stress and is great for strengthening the immune system.
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Nick & Nathan