The Secret When It Comes To Dominating Mornings and Your Workday
By Joe Campo
We’re always told it’s diet. Watch your food. Get your exercise. Try this. Try that.
From fake meat to powdered vegetables and daily supplements. It’s all getting thrown our way.
The funny thing is, it’s not all that hard to live a healthy life. We just need a little perspective shift to redefine what healthy means.
Health, as Merriam Webster has it:
[a] the condition of being sound in the body, mind, or spirit. [b] a condition where someone or something is thriving or doing well
In other words, healthy is when a living being, as a whole, operates as nature intended—or as close to that as possible. In short, a healthy body with an unhealthy heart doesn’t do us much good. The same goes for a healthy body with an unhealthy thyroid. We’re healthy when the body, as a whole, is healthy.
Before we go further, I’d like to add, you’ll find things in here that go against conventional ways. This is by no means any sort of medical advice but after studying leading doctors from around the world, applying their methods, I’m happy to say this is certainly the fastest, most effective stride towards health—or health hack, I’ve ever experienced.
So, why’s no one really taking time to talk about it? Maybe because it’s free.
One of the people talking about it for some time now is Neurosurgeon, Dr. Jack Kruse. His work is largely responsible for what inspired me to break my treasured habit of late night work sessions and never consider going back.
For any night owl curious as to why, let’s say we have two types of people—morning people and night people. In general terms, morning people are know to be up, alert, and, most importantly, themselves in the morning. On the other hand, night people are widely categorized by falling asleep later, trouble sleeping, difficulty waking, and more so feeling like themselves at any point of the day outside of morning hours.
As for me, I used to be crazy productive at night only to be a zombie just about every morning. No smile, just moving and breathing.
But, as Dr. Jack mentions, light shifts our hormones. And when we’re exposed to artificial light at night, hormones end up like Sunday morning eggs—scrambled. The scrambled hormones is what leads to poor rest and dragging mornings. In other words, being a morning or night person isn’t something we’re born with, it’s a characteristic we train our bodies to develop. The most shocking thing: how easy it was to change.
No, the trick is not to wake up earlier. But hey, if being in and out of zombie mode at 7am instead of 11am sounds like fun, go for it. But I’d hold off if you want to feel refreshed, well rested, and light in the morning. That begins with the night before.
For anyone who works from home at night that’s unsure if the laser focus of after hours is possible in the day, the answer, first hand, is yes. As soon as the body adjusts.
This requires a hormone shift.
What controls our hormones? Light.
We know that light enters the body via photoreceptors in our eyes, skin, and gut. Each of which act as the body’s three hormone control mechanisms. The problem is that, by habit, we’ve learned to regularly distribute light unevenly to each of these hormone control mechanisms. And when we do that, it catches up. No matter if it’s being a zombie in the morning, having thyroid issues, an auto-immune condition, gut issues, or being in constant survival mode—this is the unfortunate after to the unwise before.
Rather than breaking down what I’ve learned thus far about light and hormones, I’m going to shortcut it in this post. Those who wish to read more of the science of light can do so in another post.
For now, we’ll focus on the key regulator of our clock system, melatonin, its boosting agent, red light, and what kills it, blue light.
Melatonin Melatonin is the key regulator of our clock system and is produced in the gut. It’s a natural antioxidant that stimulates our immune system, how we sleep, and what we feel like when we wake up. Melatonin does not make us sleep, rather, it’s the hormone that allows us to feel tired. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, melatonin is the regeneration hormone because of its ability to antagonize the effects of stress hormones.
Red light The healing light. Red light comes from the sun, is highly concentrated at sunrise and sunset, and is melatonin’s boosting agent. It’s the key source of melatonin production. And since red light penetrates our skin anywhere from 10 to 30cm it also stimulates cell repair and regeneration.
Blue light The stressor light. Blue light is our biggest hurdle when it comes to healthy melatonin production. That’s because exposure to blue light suppresses the pineal gland, deactivates melatonin, and shuts down our immune system. To make things a touch more tricky, all artificial light sources like indoor lights, cell phone screens, TVs, and computers are extremely high in blue light. After sunset, exposure to blue light by artificial light sources activate the pituitary gland. This triggers morning stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, TSH, prolactin, and more to be released at night time when they’re supposed to be off. Chaos when we need peace.
How to boost melatonin
Right now it’s fall in the northern hemisphere. We’re slowly getting less daylight. The one thing we’re not getting less of? Red light at sunset.
Red and orange skies are more than just beautiful to look at. The intensity of red light that the sun emits when it sets makes sunset the most vital time for melatonin production.
Now, be warned, this is likely going to flip your evening routine on its head. But, as mentioned before, some people link healthy with fake meat, powdered vegetables, and daily supplements. After redefining healthy as thriving, as a whole, as nature intended, we’ll also likely benefit from taking a new perspective on what we do for health. If you’re up for giving it a shot for a few days, you’re going to love how you feel.
Eat dinner. Photons from the sun are in our food and are absorbed in the gut as UV light. To avoid creating an imbalance in your gut clock, avoid eating after sunset. Before anyone loses their cool, don’t worry, you’ll be asleep shortly after the sun goes down
During sunset Here’s where we get the natural red light exposure…
Go outside. Windows and glass filter out red and and infrared light that boosts melatonin.
Expose your skin, specifically your belly. Since melatonin is made in the gut and red light penetrates our skin 10 to 30cm, exposing your belly is a catalyst for natural melatonin production.
Stay out for an hour. While any time is better than none, an hour or more sets us up to reap the benefits. Heck you can read, listen to a podcast, jam to music—whatever floats your boat.
No sunscreen or sunglasses. Using either creates a mismatch between the skin, eye, and gut hormone control mechanisms. These three mechanisms are exactly what we are lining up by watching the sunset.
After sunset This one’s a little tough to say without feeling like the mean parent—but I guess I’ll take responsibility and assume the role here. This will help you avoid offsetting your hard work in the red light phase and will keep your three hormone control mechanisms in sync and operating optimally.
Go to bed.Melatonin is the hormone that makes us tired. It shuts off our stress hormones and hunger hormones. Sure, you can stay up for an hour or so but plan on packing it in after sunset.
Avoid blue light exposure. Interior lights and digital screens all emit blue light which deactivates melatonin, shuts down your immune system and prepares your body for morning. Not what we want to do before bed.
Avoid UV exposure. This pertains to the eyes and skin as much it does the gut. Fluorescent and LED lights emit UV light on the eyes and skin. Eating food after dark exposes the gut to UV light.
Is this unreasonable? Sure—before adjusting, at least. But don’t you think it’s also pretty unreasonable to think we can achieve optimal health by going against nature? With that said, tech and the modern world we live in make it incredibly difficult to make choices that contribute to our overall health. It’s a struggle to weed the obstacles—but when we finally do, it feels awesome.
Lastly, if you absolutely need to stay awake after sunset, there are a few things you can do.
Keep your skin covered. Don’t be a shirtless computer caveman like I used to be.
Keep your eyes protected. We made Advanced Eye Armor and are producing Night Flow for this.
Try to drink water only. Food won’t kill you but it’ll certainly make your effort to align your circadian rhythm ineffective.
P.S. The benefits are also there with sunrise. The cool thing about this health hack is that it will have you awake for sunrise—with a smile. To all my night owls out there, everyone who struggles with sleeping, dealing with a mysterious health issue, or to anyone that’s a grouch in the morning like I was, get on this and keep me posted with how you feel.
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