Over 10,000 years ago we gave up on our traditional nomadic hunter-gather lifestyle and instead began to live a more settled life in villages, with far less nomadic movement. This brought about many changes to our lifestyles, however it was the invention of the lightbulb (around 150 years ago) that has had one of the most significant impacts on our behavior and habits.
Before the invention of the lightbulb, humans operated largely within the context of the 24 hour cycle of the rotating earth…….namely predictable phases of light and darkness. We operated during the day light (due to this being the time we’d most likely locate food as well as avoid dangers) and then upon darkness we would rest. This predictable pattern of daytime activity and nighttime inactivity serves humans since the beginning of time.
However, with the advent of the bulb, this all changed!!!
Today, most adults spend less than one hour a day in sunlight……..and instead have replaced it with artificial light from lightbulbs. This would be like swapping real food for plastic food! It is simply no substitute!
Our new found reliance on indoor lighting is the equivalent of our nomadic hunter gatherer ancestors spending all their days hidden away in their caves. We probably wouldn’t be here today if that had happened…..and certainly not in our current format! Humans need sunshine.
And to make matters even worse, not only do we not get sufficient sunlight during the day, we also insist of spending the vast majority of our evenings staring at the artificial light of laptops, ipads and smartphones — further confusing our natural cycles.
In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use some kind of electronic device in the hour before bed, disrupting our natural cycles even more. Many Americans now spend their days exhausted, anxious and tired, and their nights fighting insomnia.
Even if your day and nightime patterns are not this extreme, there is very little doubt that you are still affected by the lack of sunlight……and its not usually wise to ignore millenniums of evolution.
Beginning tomorrow, not only switch off your cell phone and ipads at least one hour before bedtime, but also make sure you get some sunlight. There is the most wonderful gym and fitness center right outside your window……its called Outside. Join it again, there is no membership fee, and the benefits are innumerable.