I met a new friend at a Farmers Market in Austin this weekend. Dr. Kara Hartl (drkarahartl.com) is not only one of the nicest people I've met. She's clearly a great Mom, but she's also a subject matter expert on blue light and its negative effects on sleep and overall health. With her permission, I've consolidated our conversation below. Mom's health began to deteriorate initially due to a lack of sleep (which is the reason we started Alfarah).
Our modern era has flooded our lives with blue light emitting devices that are quietly damaging our cells and overall health. According to Dr Kara we are spending an average of 3 hours more on our phones and computers than we were before the pandemic started. That's a significant increase in exposing our eyes to harmful blue light.
Blue light is right next to harmful UV light on the spectrum and controls our circadian rhythm. This light is in Sunlight, and is therefore quite literally, nature's alarm clock. Conversely, the absence of blue light has the opposite effect. Darkness allows for the release of melatonin which calms and relaxes the body, preparing it for restorative, deep, restful sleep. Each night, this miracle healing hormone floods our bodies to repair and restore our cells. This full healing cycle needs at least 7 to 8 hours to complete. It's an amazingly simple, yet complex cycle that may never be fully understood. Yet unknowingly, many of us are short circuiting this process by staying on our phones and computers late into the evening.How does this work?
Blue light mitigates the pineal glands ability to release melatonin. Lack of melatonin has been correlated with increased rates of cancer, possibly from the downstream effects of lest restful sleep or not enough time asleep.What are the negative effects?
Lack of sleep has been shown over and over to be correlated with diabetes, weight gain, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Actually the list is quite long. The bottom line is that sleep is the foundation for good health. We know this intuitively. When we don't sleep well, we feel terrible and groggy the next morning. Our bodies simply haven't had enough time to flush toxins, and feel healing hormones to our cells.
Tips and Tricks for a great night sleep! (and most are FREE)1. Eat Well!
Dr Kara says to eat foods that are rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These are pigments that are absorbed by our eyes and protect you from the harmful energy in blue lights. Sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and butternut squash are great examples of foods that promote good eye health.
2. Drink plenty of fluids!
We are bio-electric beings, and as such our electrical flow is optimized when we are fully hydrated. Dehydration is a leading cause of health issues. Get a water bottle that is BPA free (or glass) that allows you to easily monitor your fluid intake. Most of us need 1/2 our body weight (lbs.) in oz of water. So if you weigh 120lbs, you need 60oz of water per day. This also regulates your weight. Sip it throughout the day. Don't take it all at once. You need your cells plump. They can't absorb it all at once.
3. Lower Stress
Easier said than done, we get it. But do your best to find inner peace. Take a walk in nature. Look for purpose and guidance in your life. Journal. Surround yourself with positive people and information. Remove drama. Turn off the news. If your mind is racing at night, one trick I've found works is to put on soft music or even a podcast with a soothing voice to help my mind drift into sleep.
4. Turn off your devices 3 hours before bed
Again, easier said than done. We get it. There's so much to do and such a short time to do it each day. If you must work late, then according to Dr. Kara, you MUST use yellow glasses at night. From her site: "The regular screen covers are good, but your melatonin pathways need more. There are many commercially available blue blocking glasses that work wonderfully, but they are all very, very yellow. If you put on the glasses and can still see the color blue, it’s not actually blocking the blue light. Amazon has several versions, but another product with much higher quality optics, which has excellent science behind it, is Melanin Products (www.melaninproducts.com). They are expensive and I have no promo code yet, but these are an actual medical device with scientific studies to substantiate the results.
Use the promo code drkara for a 10%. www.reticare.com"
5. Find a way to increase melatonin
Lavender is nature's best ways of hastening the release of our super healing hormone, melatonin. You don't have to use ours, but we would love it if you do. I use our diffuser by my bed each night. Our lavender is straight from the flower, into the bottle. NO-THING added. And because if where its grown and the conditions in the Alps, it is super potent. I use it uncut straight out of the bottle because I'm still decalcifying my pineal gland after many years of drinking city water (it's the pineal gland that releases melatonin). I fill the diffuser 1/3 of the way up and repeat the process every few weeks. Some of our customers use our yarn balls to put by the bed side to allow mini waves of lavender aroma to gently take them away into natures healing dream state.
We love you and here's to your health.
The Alfarah Team!
**For more ideas on how to integrate healing modalities into your life, subscribe to our blog at www.alfarahselfcare.com