How about closing your eyes…right now?

How about closing your eyes…right now?

Most jobs are now performed in front of a computer screen and it is very easy to get tired. For an immediate refresh, close your eyes for a few seconds, then let go of all the muscles around the eyes. The University of Surrey scientists even say that shutting eyes frees up brainpower!

So here is a resilience practice we invite you to cultivate this week:
I practice instant relaxation, closing my eyes a few seconds, several times per day.

10 Tips for Rest, Recovery and Rejuvenation

10 Tips for Rest, Recovery and Rejuvenation

Written by by 

The Season for Stillness

We tumble to the end of another warp-speed year. We spin through our tasks and grasp at floods of information.

We press too hard, too fast and for too long. Reservoirs are sucked dry. Self-awareness fades. Self-regulation is impaired. Your health and your relationships are at risk.

It is time to slow down, repair, rejuvenate and reconnect with what matters.

In a world of optimisation, ambition, pride and duty, we push hard on multiple fronts. The rest, recovery and rejuvenation cycle is squeezed out between ever shorter bursts of dopamine. We are child-like in our impulsive tapping, swiping, checking, buying, rushing, feeding… compelled to chase the next hit.

As I come to the end of 2019, I feel battered. My mind is a little flat. Attention is fragile. Relationships are edgy. I know I need a good break. I am struggling to disconnect, calm my hypervigilance, and allow the natural cycle of recovery. I sense it in our family, friends and colleagues.

Rest, recovery and rejuvenation (R3) is the next competitive edge. Ironic!

My end of year message it to give rest, recovery and rejuvenation your full attention.

At a cellular level, the R3 cycle is vital to repair and rejuvenation. It is the key to longevity and sits at the biochemical core of fasting, sleep quality, intense activity, meditation, and cold water baths. It is a promising solution that supports this process of slowing, cleaning and repairing hard working cells.

The R3 cycle is key to musculoskeletal strength and physical wellbeing. Intimacy, touch and dreaming (REM) sleep stimulate the R3 cycle for emotional wellbeing. The default network is the R3 cycle for cognition allowing us to focus, engage and refresh our minds.

Our end-of-year pause is an opportunity to capture the R3 cycle for life and family. Please make an effort to allow for adequate rest, recovery and rejuvenation as your year comes to an end. Engage your family in this process so that you may reconnect in more intimate ways.

Share what works well for you.

Calm, Control and Connect

Calm, Control and Connect

The untapped power in your Vagus Nerve

Imagine you are surprised by an unexpected reward at your end-of-year function. You are asked to step up to the stage. With a trained vagus nerve, you notice surprise and weakness in your limbs but within milliseconds you become calm, control the anxiety and connect to the occasion with pleasure and gratitude. Your acceptance speech resonates.

With a neglected vagus nerve, you panic. Your mouth is dry, vision blurs, you feel too weak to move, your heart is thumping, and you can barely make it up the stairs. When you try to say thanks, your mind freezes, and nothing comes out. Embarrassing for all of us.

Best you understand how to work with your vagus nerve.

First introduced in 2012 by Stephen Porges, Polyvagal Theory has become a powerful concept with a range of practical applications.

What you will learn:

  1. The vagus nerve: what it is and how it works in your life
  2. The physical mechanisms of freeze, fight and flight
  3. The learned skills of relaxation, connecting and finding flow
  4. How you might recover from confusing adversities in life
  5. How vagus training can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure,
  6. What you can do to increase the power (tone) of your vagus nerve
  7. How Vagal Tone underpins mental health, wellbeing and resilience

Fast Theory

The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve which exits low in the skull, runs down both sides of the neck and into the lungs and heart before diving down into the abdomen. It is a very long and critically important nerve for life. For a deeper dive, please follow the references.

The vagus nerve works with other cranial nerves to influence and modulate our facial expressions, head movement and tracking, hearing and voice. In the chest it influences breathing and controls heart rate – speed and variability. In the abdomen it influences peristalsis (food movement), gut neurology, bacteria, inflammation. Further, it is a key element of urination, bowel movements and sex. It works in synchrony with your sympathetic system or causes chaos.

Vagus nerve vector illustration. Labeled anatomical structure scheme and location diagram of human body longest nerve. Infographic with isolated ganglion, branches and plexus. Inner biological ANS. (Vagus nerve vector illustration. Labeled anatomical)

The dorsal vagus fibres are ancient (reptiles) and slow. The ventral vagus fibres are much newer in evolution (mammals) and can be trained. Polyvagal theory dissolves confusing concepts like PTSD, autism, anxiety and psychological safety into a clear and testable biological reality. This leads to a set of practices to be safe, well and effective in life.

The Vagus Nerve and Sympathetic System in Action

Each of these reactions or responses are possible and available to us. Consider some of the more challenging situations you might face and see if you can recognise the pattern.

Freeze (old or dorsal vagus) reactions:

  • Old reptilian reflexes to extreme threat (play dead)
  • Blood pressure drops, bowels and bladder can void
  • Can be a feint, collapse or tears
  • Poses risk to human brain as blood flow drops
  • Executed by the body to protect the body
  • May leave us with confusion, regret or even guilt
  • Experienced in extreme threat such as war, natural disaster or abuse

Application: when we are truly overwhelmed this is the best option. We collapse, look dead and lose feeling. Those suffering PTSD may find comfort and healing by understanding their reaction was the body’s reaction rather than their failure to fight. Aspects of depression such as loss of energy, fatigue, confusion, self doubt and reduced motivation might be linked.

Fight (sympathetic system and anger) reactions:

  • Body floods with adrenaline increasing blood pressure and pulse
  • Blood flows to combat muscles – face, jaw, neck, shoulders and chest
  • Associated with a flare of inflammation
  • Narrow vision and focus on threat can lead to poor risk assessment
  • Can leave us with impaired memory and regret
  • Experienced when violence or force may help you counter a threat

Application: When we see anger this way, it is a destructive force to entertain in your body. The inflammation, immune system compromise and heart damage is well documented. It must be used sparingly if at all.

Flight (sympathetic system and fear) reactions:

  • Adrenaline charges the heart and lungs
  • Blood shunts to the large muscles of lower limbs
  • Inflammation follows
  • Thinking is disabled but may still lead to regret
  • Underpins phobia reactions (fear of heights, spiders, etc.)
  • Usually the best of a bad choice

Application: flight, fear, anxiety and worry are all linked. In PTSD, phobias, panic and generalised anxiety, we cannot contain the flight reaction. Our bodies have ‘run away’. This is the most common form of suffering experienced today. If we can see it we can train as below.

The Vagus Nerve has three trainable levels

The human vagus nerve can be trained to work better. Firstly, we learn how to fire the ventral fibres. These relax and rejuvenate us restoring peace after freeze, fight and flight. Second, with repeated practice such as with rehearsal practices, breath training or meditation, the vagal nerve becomes myelinated. A fatty sheath enfolds the ventral fibres accelerating their action on the body – specifically heart, lungs, inflammation and gut.

Once we calm and control the primal reactions, now the vagus connections to the face, ears and voice become active. Heart rate variability increases. We actively seek connection. Myelination of the vagus is more advanced.

Finally, feeling safe and connected we have a strong platform for play, curiosity and performance. Now we have high functioning vagus nerve which is well myelinated and we have rehearsed and practiced tricky situations so much we actually look forward to challenges.

Let’s explore those three levels:

Calm and Control:

  • Ventral fibres of the vagus activate and initiate calm and control
  • Heart rate slows and heart rate variability increase
  • Lungs relax, diaphragm engages, and inflammation clears
  • Hearing improves and voice softens
  • Head movement, tracking and balance improve
  • Awareness of body, emotion and thought sharpens
  • Thinking, idea-generation and decision-making improves

Application: Calm and control is the foundation of safety and wellbeing. Without it, we increase the risk of ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, PTSD and Depression. Basic breathing techniques, neck massage, meditation and cold water can help. A supportive person with kind eyes and a melodic voice can help some activate this response. Sleep improves and health improves.

Control and Connect:

  • Now calm and safe, our attention focuses on the situation
  • We can hear voices of those who matter more clearly
  • Our voice becomes mellow and prosodic
  • We establish a relaxed and enjoyable eye contact
  • Facial expressions around eyes increase
  • Empathy increases – physical, emotional and mental signals
  • Honesty, intimacy and respectful sharing come naturally

Application: As we power up our capacity to connect through eye contact, voice and touch, we heal autism, loneliness, depression and anxiety. We are establishing the foundations for high trust, collaborative relationships. Happiness, enjoyment of life and vitality flourish.

Connect, Play and Flow:

  • Feeling safe, energised and connected the impulse to play arises
  • Laughter, provocation, chase and evade emerge
  • The sympathetic system is engaged with vagal tone high
  • Play is how all young mammals learn to survive
  • Physical interactive play trains us to perform (sport, drama, combat)
  • Eye contact, prosodic voice, facial expressions and respect sustain it
  • This is how we develop the capacity for Flow

Application: when thinking stops, time pauses, and grace unfolds we are in play or flow. Your vagus nerve is a force for joy, success and meaning in life. You have put the time into practice. You have done your drills and had plenty of failures. Your ability to be relaxed, flexible, connected and effective is established.

Once can imagine your vagus nerve is thick and glistening. It works really quickly now. In the beginning you lay awake in anxiety and hyperventilated for hours. Now your vagus detects your body’s freeze, fight and flight reactions before you do. It has already restored calm, control and reconnected you to what really matters.

Practical tools to increase vagal tone

  • Breathe out long and slow followed by a pause
  • Establish and train your diaphragmatic breathing (8 min/day)
  • Learn a contemplative practice – meditation, yoga, kindness
  • Splash cold water on your face or swim underwater
  • Whole body, foot or neck massage
  • Gargling water and fasting
  • Listening to prosodic music (Abba, Johnny Mathis)
  • Laughter and singing
  • Face-to-face connection (and yes, less device time)
  • Unstructured play and structured practice or rehearsal
  • Sunshine and vitamin D collaborate with the vagus nerve effects

References:

  1. Stephen Porges, Polyvagal Theory, 2012
  2. Stephen Porges, The Pocketguide to Polyvagal Theory, 2018
  3. Elizabeth Williams, Daily Vagus Nerve Exercise, 2019
  4. Robert Bright, The Polyvagal Theory, 2019
Dr Sven on Meditation

Dr Sven on Meditation

By Dr Sven Hansen.

Meditation has gone mainstream for good reasons.

The evidence confidently shows physical, emotional and cognitive benefits [i]
Roughly 2,500 years of dedicated practice proves safety
Meditation presents as a foundation competence for our future
It can be the most enjoyable part of your day and enlightens the rest
So, why isn’t everybody meditating? Even, philosopher of our time, Noah Yuval Harari [ii], recommends meditation. He believes it generates the mental and emotional resilience required in our future of artificial intelligence and increasing human redundancy.

The first reason is overload – the very reason we should be meditating. The second is language. Meditation or mindfulness can trigger xenophobic reactions or seem too intense. The third is the immaturity of the field with a flood of overenthusiastic novices. The fourth is a failure of execution.

The last is the one to be confronted. The knowing-doing gap.

To be fair, I recommend that you secure your sleep and exercise first. To meditate when you are sleep deprived or unfit is wasteful. However, for many their meditation practice is the solution to sleep and the motivation to move.

If meditation is your next challenge, here are some tips to get the wins.

1. Get the language right
Meditation is our word for a strategic investment. Tactical Calm or Breath Control is for quick relaxation. Tactical Focus is for practical attention skills. We have dropped mindfulness as too broad. Be confident in the word you choose. You do not want to feel embarrassed or ashamed when you talk about it. Fortunately, there are many paths.

2. Allocate the time
While at first it feels like booking a dentist appointment, you have to get serious about allocating protected time. There is a theme that the minimum investment for sustainable gains is 8 minutes per day. Be on time for this appointment every day. Imagine it as a confirmed meeting with the CEO of life – which is exactly what it is. Even if the appointment is a mess, stick with the full allocated time. Two to five minutes is a good start.

3. Play – be curious and creative
A big disappointment is when you sit down to control your mind and find perfect bliss. To your dismay, as you sit your mind dissolves into agitated chaos. Within minutes you are miserable – appalled to discover that you have absolutely no control over your thoughts and feelings.

Be relaxed and playful. You are entering a virtual world with a whole new set of rules. You have switched external stimuli such as weather, work, gadgets, and relationships to an inner world of biochemistry, emotions and thoughts. For many this is foreign territory. You will have to learn to relax into this new drama and get to know the characters.

Watch the pain and see how it tugs for attention and sympathy. Really focus into that feeling of anxiety and experience how it wants to take control of your mind and movement. Look clearly into the bubbling stream of thoughts and images and how easily they can snatch away your commitment to focus on your breath – even hijack the entire practice.

Your job will be to discover who you are in this kaleidoscope of sensations, feelings and thoughts. I sense that itch. I feel that frustration. I notice that thought. Be present and attentive to the “I”. Keep coming back to yourself as the subject, the watcher or the witness.

4. Establish your base practice
Your base practice is to sit comfortably on chair or cushion:

Keep your spine light and long.
Let your shoulders roll backward and down.
Breathe through your nose.
Relax your chest and let your sternum sink downward.
Exhale completely over six seconds and pause gently.
Inhale slowly and evenly aiming for four seconds.
Keep your chest, neck and face relaxed
Allow your belly, side ribs and loins (over kidneys) to expand.
Keep your face and neck relaxed.
Notice your pulse, muscle tone, and skin
Focus on the rise and fall of your upper belly – ‘rising…..falling…..rising…’
Breathing at 10 seconds per breath means 48 breaths. Simple. Yeah right.

5. Commit to daily discipline
Regardless of how messy, wasteful, frustrating or disappointing the experience, resolve to sit down tomorrow and repeat. You will miss the odd day. As much as possible secure a daily practice. Even if you need to lie in bed and breathe at the end of a hectic day, it is something. There is also a case for taking a minute every hour through the working day to sit up, relax, drop your attention to your breath and breath slowly (6 out, 4 in) for 6 breaths.

6. Set your basic rituals
Starting a new practice or daily ritual is challenging at first. After about six weeks it will become a routine that requires little thought or effort. For the first six weeks simply sit and breathe with an open, non-judgemental presence to the sensations, feelings and thoughts. Gently fix your attention on the rise and fall of breathing. Use the exhale as an anchor.

As your practice steadies, prepare with a few stretches or yoga poses to mobilise your joints, stretch the muscles and engage your diaphragm fully. Select a place that is quiet, peaceful and comfortable. Once your breath and attention are a little more stable, sense the life force in your body. Encourage feelings of peace, gratitude, appreciation and kindness. Let your mind settle quietly on your point of focus. Reach into the “I” or subject and be present to the show. Your sense of self becomes more stable. This is meta-awareness or meta-cognition. You have a reference point that is separate from the senses, feelings and thoughts.

As you grasp this meta-awareness, begin to lengthen your practice out to 20 or even 40 minutes.

7. Explore variations for deeper practice
When ready, explore meditation variations. In my own practice, I start with a tactical focus to initiate my practice. On Monday I generate feelings of calm, on Tuesday vitality (energy), on Wednesday love, on Thursday contentment (gratitude) and Friday, joy. This is an excellent way to build strength in your positive emotions and if feels like a good build for the week.

Once you are deep in meditation there are three main branches [iii]. All are based on your now practiced ability to sit calm, clear, and present to your breath. The first is focused attention. Select a focus. The rising and falling of the abdomen, the flow of breath at your nostrils or simply a word or a visualisation. Resolve to hold your attention on that focus. Imagine your attention like a beam of light. You are the source that must direct, focus and fix the beam of light on the focus point.

The second is loving kindness. Start with feeling your body and sinking into a sincere acceptance, gentleness and kindness toward yourself. This is called self-compassion. Then bring to mind parents, partner, children and loved ones. Extend a genuine intention that they be peaceful, loving and joyous. As your capacity for loving kindness grows, extend that intention to your communities, all people, all sentient beings and ultimately the universe.

Finally, there is open presence. Imagine the “I” as subject or witness to body, emotion and mind (objects of awareness). You are reversing back up towards the source. You create distance from body, emotion and mind. Become one with awareness. When you ask the questions ‘who is aware?’ or ‘who am I?’, you begin to experience open presence. It is vast, expansive, free and beautiful.

Meditation can be fun. Come and play.

[i] The Science of Meditation, Davidson and Goleman, 2017

[ii] 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Noah Yuval Harari, 2018

[iii] Altruism, Matthieu Ricard, 2015

See article

 

The Benefits of Learning Resilience

The Benefits of Learning Resilience

By 

 

A foundation of resilience provides us with the confidence to approach life creatively.

The resilient individual understands the benefits of relaxation and recovery, has constructed a masterful lifestyle that aligns with biological rhythms and knows how to focus attention.

The most resilient among us will experience Flow regularly – and understand how to cultivate the conditions for optimal performance.

Resilience is a learned ability and the skills can be acquired at any time in life. The key is deliberate practice combined with self-awareness. When we are aware of how we think, feel and act, we can adapt and flourish.

 

4 Benefits of Resilience Training

We define resilience as the learned ability to demonstrate Bounce, Courage, Connection and Creativity.

Let’s explore the four elements of resilience with this extract from Inside-Out: The Practice of Resilience.

1. Bounce

Life delivers serious adversities from time to time. These may be of our own making or a result of external forces. For 50 years we have recognised that some of us respond constructively to adversity, finding ways to bounce back and emerge stronger and more effective. Others react negatively, losing confidence and acting in ways that undermine their wellbeing, vitality and effectiveness.

Those who bounce back effectively focus on what they can achieve rather than blaming. They maintain and engage supportive networks, and display a bias to take action. When in trouble, they focus inward, connect and act. These characteristics can be learned and practised. In fact, adversity may be exactly what we need to realise these strengths and master the ability to bounce back.

Some recommend the administration of small, repeated challenges to train people and society to exercise their capacity for bounce and adaptation. This has been missing in modern parenting and education. We are ‘killing people with kindness’.

Adversity triggers adaptive responses. As comfort-seeking creatures, we are quick to remove the experience of adversity from our lives. Excess safety reduces exploration, medication counters natural healing, tolerance encourages destructive behaviour, and social welfare undermines individual resourcefulness. We are afraid to let people learn.

Depression is increasing despite gains in wellbeing, and it now competes with heart disease as the major disease of our time. Depression rates in children have increased tenfold over the past 40 years, and the age of a first episode has dropped from 29.5 to 14.5 years. With an enormous weaponry of modern medicine and psychiatry, we frequently turn to medication and therapy rather than teaching the skills of bounce.

Bounce is the base camp for a good life in a dynamic world.

 

2. Courage

The second element captures our orientation to change, including the daily challenges of life. Based on the work Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, we learn helplessness or optimism from our interactions with circumstance. We always hold the option to engage constructively or to collapse, flee or fight. The difference is courage.

We have removed many of the daily challenges of survival. To thrive we must now go out and seek challenge with courage. We can do this through exercise, fasting, exploring, connecting and creating. Sometimes we resent novelty and resist change. We retreat into thoughts (ruminate) on how things were and should be, or worry about the future.

Resistance to change focuses our attention on external causes. This provokes anger, sadness (past) or fear (future). Change becomes a risk to be feared and fought. At other times we take an energised, optimistic and constructive stance to change and challenge. We focus on the goal and leverage resources to engage creatively. This leads to mastery and success, and stimulates an upward spiral of competence and confidence. Our attention is focused on our own actions.

While chasing change for its own sake has risks, someone who takes an engaged and optimistic stance to the turbulence of modern life will be more likely to succeed. Courage embraces the future with a curious mind, an open heart, and the will to take action. It is displayed by positive physical action towards meaningful goals.

 

3. Connection

Connection begins with a respectful engagement with our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts and our purpose. It extends to family, friends, community, workplace and beyond, to nature and our planet. Broken connections cause pain. Connection requires respect inside and out. It is a measure of maturity — an impulse to goodness. It measures how we have lived and defines how we will be remembered. It is an onerous responsibility and mistakes will be made.

Connection is a core ingredient that works synergistically with Creativity. Provided we work with self-awareness, respect, tolerance and compassion, the work of relieving suffering and ennobling others is deeply rewarding at all levels — body, heart, mind and spirit. Our wellbeing, emotional state, cognition and contentment improve when we help others.

Targeted helping (altruism), embedded in our evolution, reaches its finest expression when compassion is discovered and practised by an enlightened human being.

 

4. Creativity

The fourth element of resilience pushes beyond difficulty and tenacity. Bounce and courage provoke learning and growth. Creativity is expansive and ambitious. While our capacity to develop is immense, it is not for everyone.

Reaching our full potential requires deep self-awareness, skill mastery and perseverance. Often experiments will fail. Fearing failure, many settle for mediocrity. Evidence shows that those who discover and stretch their talents experience increased life satisfaction, joy, health and longevity.

Aligning our talents and skills with a meaningful challenge enriches life. As we live longer in an economically insecure world, it will be necessary to find the skills to work well beyond traditional retirement. Our planet’s resilience depends on the creative stewardship of humanity. The world changes, our abilities mature, and what really matters evolves.

It is important not to overstay a phase of life, a job or a role. As the challenge changes and our skills adapt, we can choose to rejuvenate and find another layer of possibility. The creative impulse to advance into novelty is the story of humanity.

Can we Prove the Benefits of Resilience Training?

Actually – yes. Our Global Resilience Diagnostic Report analysed the resilience ratio difference in over 26,000 individuals who received resilience training. The results were clear.

Resilience training has a particularly strong effect on:

  • Reducing depression
  • Improving physical wellbeing
  • Improving cognitive functioning
  • Reducing the effects of stress

Read what our partner Datamine had to say.

Explore the report in detail.

Bright Blue: Dawn and your resilience

Bright Blue: Dawn and your resilience

 by 

Why dawn is so good for you? Why missing it is dangerous?

Waking up with the blue light of dawn is a delight for the soul. It is also a very simple, powerful discipline to save, enrich and empower your life. Over the past weeks, a surprising number of resilience participants have shared that they did not understand the concept.

For those who just want a simple, well supported practice to action now:

Wake up every morning before dawn and be outside for 30 minutes before sunrise.

For those who want a more comprehensive understanding here is my best explanation – given that much is still to be learned:

  1. Evolution has designed humans and almost all primates as diurnal creatures. We function best during the hours of daylight. At night we are easy prey and relatively disabled in body, emotion and mind. During the day we are safe, well and effective. Our blood pressure, brain functions, hormones, mood, metabolism and physical competence are all synchronised by the circadian clock.
  1. For at least 30 million years primates have woken with the dawn light. As a consequence our circadian cycle is roughly 24 hours and is paced by the effect of blue light at dawn (we call this a zeitgeber). When blue light hits the back of your eyes, you release melanopsin, which resets the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This synchronises your biology to the day, making sure you are prepared for movement, alert and engaged. Temperature, social activity, exercise and consumption are also zeitgebers.
  1. Securing enough sleep (between 7 and 9 hours) is important. Timing of your sleep may be more important. During the day we accumulate fatigue, sometimes measured by adenosine in the brain. This peaks as light fades, temperature drops and we become less active. Our body prepares to “flop” into sleep. This feeling of sleep pressure peaks every 90 minutes (ultradian cycle). If we drop into bed quiet, calm, cool and dark we will drop into the two important cycles of deep or NREM sleep. This is between the hours of 10pm and 2am.
  1. After 5 ultradian cycles (~2 deep and 3 dreaming), which equals 7.5hours, our body is ready to “flip” into wakefulness. If we have slept well – time and quality – we should wake up with a positive bias for movement and action. It is at this time that blue light is critical and the best source is at least 20 minutes for pre-dawn blue light along with movement.
  1. When we miss blue light we desynchronise the circadian clock. This happens in three specific situations, all of which have potential danger. The first is jetlag and the best way to reset your clock is to travel west when you can or to use melatonin at about 1mg an hour before sleep. We know that shift workers incur increased risk of cardiovascular, metabolic and cancer diseases.
  1. The second is weekend sleep-ins. Because most adults accumulate an hour of sleep debt per day, many try to “catch up” by sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday. This is a dangerous and foolish trap. If you miss the dawn zeitgeber over the weekend your clock with free-run for two ultradian cycles leaving your clock desynchronised. Monday mornings show a peak of heart attacks, motor vehicles accidents and suicides. See picture above.

It is also demonstrated that those who sleep in over the weekend are at much higher risk of cardio-metabolic disease – obesity, diabetes, heart disease and inflammation. The following changes when you sleep in over the weekend (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, November, 2015):

  • Lower HDL (know as the protective cholesterol)
  • Higher Triglycerides (linked to metabolic disease)
  • Higher fasting insulin and insulin resistance (diabetes and aging risk)
  • Greater body mass and larger waist circumference (fat)
  1. The third is the desynchronisation caused by the introduction of daylight savings (DST) in spring. It is well established that there is a 10 to 24% increase in heart attacks on the Monday after DST is introduced. This is similar to the weekend sleep-in effect. The clock ‘rolls back” on us like Monday morning.
  1. Practical changes that deliver benefits to our clients include:
    1. Regular wake up time and exposure to dawn light
    2. Cutting the blue light from all screens for at least an hour before bed
    3. A cool, dark and quiet room or ear plugs and masks as needed
    4. Exercise earlier in the day and lighter evening meals
    5. A relaxation practice with slow, long exhalations before sleep

Bright Blue call to Action

Obesity is pandemic. Diabetes is epidemic. Heart disease, inflammation, health care costs, and childhood attention and learning disorders are testing our societies. Might we consider being a little biologically smarter about regular wake up with blue light and generally respecting our biological clocks? The actions are simple and free and evidence is accumulating on the positive effects for prevention, management and cure – let alone those who want to excel in life. As a parent, employer, athlete or leader this is important to test for your situation. Remember, we are all slightly different (larks and owls) so experimentation is usually necessary.