Wellness Pathway #264 The Light / Dark Balance

There is a reason for the circadian rhythms of light and dark that we would do well to respect. What are “circadian rhythms?” They are the daily rhythmic activity cycles that many organisms exhibit. Humans evidence more than 100 such rhythms, including body temperature, hormonal levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and pain threshold.

All these are impacted by our exposure to light, since light represses the production of a key protein needed for the molecular mechanism of the body’s clock. Continuous exposure to light causes us to lose our circadian rhythms since we fail to accumulate and process this protein normally.

Unfortunately, with the advent of electricity and modern times, many of us are exposed to way too much light. Before the age of electric light, people were much more dependent upon the natural cycle of day and night. At certain times of the year, they experienced more light. At others times, they experienced less light. But at all times they experienced a definite, gentle, and predictable rhythm between light and dark.

Think of what happens when we live outdoors on a wilderness experience. My wife and I thoroughly enjoy these experiences in part because they reconnect us to the light / dark balance. When you’re miles away from civilization and the sun goes down, when you have no light other than a campfire or a candle, there’s not much to do other than to be in the moment — looking at the stars, watching the embers and the flickers of fire, connecting with each other, and going to sleep.

Just writing that paragraph made me realize that it’s been far too long since we took that kind of time. Instead, we, like many others, are prone to extend our exposure to light both before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down. Even worse are those who work through the night, completely disrupting the circadian rhythm of light and dark.

If you are among those who have to work through the night, be sure to modify your environment during the day to sleep in total or near-total darkness. Hang impenetrable shades or drapes on your bedroom windows so the light does not shine through. Do whatever it takes to simulate the natural light / dark balance of life. Too much of either one is not a good thing. We need the balance to be healthy and well.

Don’t forget that we need exposure to sunlight, not to electric light, for the natural production of Vitamin D. I am writing this Pathway in my hotel room at the CoachVille Conference in New Orleans. I could live forever in this artificial environment, without ever getting outside to see the light of the sun. That, too, would not be healthy. Instead, I make a point of running, walking, and / or sitting in the sun on a daily basis (using sunscreen as appropriate).

Coaching Inquiries: What is your rhythm when it comes to the light / dark balance? Do you get too much light? Do you get too little sun light? When was the last time that you went to bed and woke up with the sun? When was the last time that you looked at the stars and watched the embers of a campfire? How you could reconnect with the circadian rhythms of life?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services