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Khanya Wellness


5 Ways to Improve Your Light Hygiene

Everyone has heard of personal and oral hygiene, and we go to great lengths to ensure we’re on point, with our minty breath and all. However, the term light hygiene” is not exactly in our regular lexicon, nor does it even cross our minds when we go for doctor’s visits, but it’s probably the most important health action we could take.

Modern living is such that we use artificial light sources before the sun rises and again after it sets. After dark, it’s all too simple to turn on the lights in the home and keep going like it’s the middle of the day. This may be good for the global economy and productivity (temporarily!), but it is terrible news for the circadian rhythm and our health. Keeping our lives artificially lit has many negative effects on our physiological and mental health, with issues ranging from eye strain, hormone imbalance to stress, depression, insulin resistance etc.

 Improving light hygiene is something we can all do, with some lifestyle adjustments. Here are five tips:

  1.  Turn all device screens to red: Avoiding a computer or phone screen may not be an option in our tech age, but we can mitigate the harsh blue light they emit. You may need to download an app or adjust your device’s settings to turn the screen red. This will help prevent the hormonal imbalance and sleep disruption caused by artificial blue light. 
  1. Wear a scarf: Artificial blue light is a known disruptor of thyroid function. So, when you’re indoors under artificial lighting (offices or shopping malls), throw a light scarf around your neck to protect this vital organ. Make it pretty so you don’t have to explain yourself to co-workers. 
  1. Take time to watch the sun rise and set: Get outside when the sun rises to take advantage of setting the body’s internal clock. This will also help regulate your feel-good and sleep pre-cursor hormones which will be converted to melatonin later to help encourage quality sleep. 
  1. Wear blue blockers: In the evening, wear blue blocker glasses to block blue light so that the body will get the message that it is time to stop producing cortisol and start producing melatonin. Be sure to wear them soon after the sun sets if you will be exposed to artificial light and when sitting in front of a computer screen. 

5. Break for sunlight: Get outside for light breaks throughout the day. Doing so will ensure that the body’s clock remains synchronised and hormone levels are in balance. The feeling of sun      on your skin also has the added benefit of boosting your mood, which is not a bad thing during stressful office hours. You can also go out for a morning or afternoon walk to absorb some rays and get some movement points.

There you go! None of this is complicated, but it does require some forethought and intentionality. Try it out and come back to let me know how you feel.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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