Can you live on just light breatharianism circadian rhythm meditation paleo diet natural-min

Can You Live On Just Light?

I read recently about a woman, Naveena Shine, 65, from Seattle, who was planning to go for six months without eating, existing solely on “nutrition” from the sun; Sungazing. She installed video cameras in her house, with live streaming, to prove that she wasn't cheating. After losing a lot of weight, she stopped after 47 days, as she feared she was encouraging others to copy her – without having the resources in place to do so safely.

Looking into sungazing and breatharianism, there are a lot of people around the World, who genuinely believe it is possible to live – and nourish your body – without eating.

Can you live on just light breatharianism circadian rhythm meditation paleo diet natural-min

What is Sungazing?

The idea behind sungazing is to gain increased energy, more awareness, and clearer thinking. It is a practice where you take a few minutes out of your day and focus on the rising or setting sun. As the sun is so crucial for our circadian rhythms – which are crucial for so many functions, this seems quite in line with a Paleo lifestyle. Who wouldn't benefit from getting away from artificial lighting and getting some natural sunlight. Sungazing actually involves doing just that – gazing directly at the sun – which is why it is so controversial. A lot of people, understandably, say this can cause serious long term damage to your eyes. Sungazers start off slowly focusing on the sun for a few seconds at sunrise and sunset initially (rather than when the sun is at it’s strongest at midday). Gradually they increase this time, until after a few months they are focusing on the sun for several minutes at a time.

Whilst focusing on the sun, sungazers practice meditation.

Looking directly into the sun does not seem like a remotely good idea – but being in the sun – and connecting with the Earth at sunrise and sunset must be a good thing. Not only does being in the sun give a Vitamin D boost (and at a far safer time of day, as the sun is not so strong), it is a great way to reset your body clock. I’d also speculate this would significantly help transform sleep patterns.

As for the not eating part, I can’t see any benefit in that. Whilst an occasional intermittent fast seems to be beneficial – going without food for long periods of time, can’t be a good thing.

I’d love to hear what you think about Sungazing. Completely ridiculous, or is there an element of truth in it? Leave your comments, below.

Are you a severe night owl LSPD late sleep phase disorder insomnia

Are you an extreme night owl?

In my quest to understand more about my slow metabolism, I've been looking more and more at my circadian rhythms.

I've always been a night owl and tend to come alive late at night becoming super productive and creative, when everyone else is asleep. When I've worked long hours in the city – and had to get up early, I would often try to go to bed at a sensible time. But I’d just lie in bed feeling wide awake and frustrated that sleep didn't come. Until much, much later.

When you Google struggling to sleep, you come up with lots of hits for insomnia. Insomnia didn't quite feel right, but what else could it be? Insomniacs often wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep. Once I'm asleep, I don’t wake up until my sleep is abruptly ended by an alarm, or I have the rare luxury of waking up naturally.

I noticed when I wasn't working, and was able to follow my natural routine, I'd eventually feel tired in the early hours of the morning, and wake up around 11:34am. When I say around, I mean precisely. Every single day. So I was getting a decent 8 or so hours sleep. It just wasn't at a socially acceptable time. Doesn't sound so much like insomnia.

Are you a severe night owl LSPD late sleep phase disorder insomnia

It has a name?

After researching this further, I eventually found out about other people who sleep like this too. And it has a name: Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD – but most definitely not to be confused with the other DSPD – Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder). DSPD is exactly what I have been experiencing. A complete shift of the socially acceptable sleeping time several hours to the right. Core body temperature, hormones, alertness, energy levels – all happening at the “wrong” time.

Jetlag reset

I recently travelling halfway round the world from Australia to the UK. I had expected to be able to use jetlag to my advantage and “reset” my sleep times. The first few days it all went to plan, I’d be unable to fight off the tiredness by 8pm – and would be wide awake by 5am. But, after just a few days I fell back into my middle of the night to 11:34am routine. After researching DSPD, this seems to be the same issue across the board. Changing time zones is not a fix.

Curing DSPS?

It’s all quite gloomy on most sites, as many people believe there is no cure. They suggest getting a job to fit in with your natural sleeping times, rather than trying to work a conventional job with a 6am alarm call. The most common “cure” recommends you force yourself to stay up for an extra hour or two each night, with the idea being that after a few weeks you could stop adding on the time when you get to your preferred new bedtime, perhaps 10pm? But that seems like a bit of a hard core solution. In the middle of that transition you’d be sleeping over the entire daylight hours. That can't be good!?

My solution

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying out my own method of solving this – and I've made some really good progress.

The answer seems to be in Circadian Rhythms. We get our cues from daylight as to what time of day it is, and crucially the early morning sun is completely different to late afternoon sun. There is far more blue light in the mornings, which I simply never got to see. Also at night, all the artificial street lights come on, TV’s, computer screens, smartphone – and we’re bathed in artificial blue light signalling to our brain that it’s morning and we should be at the peak of our alertness!

So it was clear to me that I needed to get natural sunlight as early as possible in the mornings. As soon as I wake up, I now head straight outside, barefoot, and walk for about an hour. I've also stopped wearing sunglasses, to make sure I'm getting as much natural light in as I possibly can, particularly in the first half of the day. After sunset, I try to reduce artificial blue light as much as I can.

Whilst I'm not at conventional sleeping hours yet, I am definitely slowly shifting my times to the left.  I'm starting to feel sleepy earlier and waking up naturally quite a lot earlier too. The biggest improvement has been my energy levels. I feel so much more alert and energetic during the morning and daytime. I'm also feeling a lot warmer during the day, which I think is a good indication that I may be on the track to normalising my circadian rhythm.

I'm never going to be an “Early Bird” naturally waking up at 5:30am everyday, weekend or weekday. But I hope to be able to shift my sleep and waking hours to something far more reasonable – and in turn increase my daytime metabolic rate and energy levels.

I’d love to hear more about your natural sleeping patterns in the comments, below. Are you a severe night owl (DSPD) too? Do you just live with it, or have you had any success in changing it? Any nuggets of information you have on circadian rhythms – I’d really like to hear!

Paleo Diet Primal Sleep Problems Blue Light Blockers-min

Is Blue Light Ruining Your Sleep?

How is your sleep? If you’re struggling to get to sleep – or to get a decent amount of sleep, have you though that the problem might lie with your circadian rhythms? And that exposure to blue light may be messing up your circadian rhythms?

How we’re supposed to sleep

If you go camping, away from towns and cities, you might have noticed you get tired much earlier than you would do normally? When the only light after dark comes from a camp fire, the signal to your body to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. As soon as the sun rises the next morning, melatonin production slows down, telling your body it is daytime – and time to wake up and get going. For this reason light is absolutely crucial to your bodies internal body clock. The incredible range of sleeping potions on sale is surely proof at how widespread sleeping problems are.

Unfortunately the unnatural, man made lights that we all rely on, give off the same lights as the sun – signalling to our bodies that it is daytime. And most definitely not time to sleep. Blue light is everywhere; household lights, your computer, ipad, laptop, tv,street lighting, alarm clocks – it is hard to escape blue light. As well as messing up with natural sleeping patterns, excessive blue light exposure is also linked to increased cancer risk and an increased chance of obesity.

Paleo Diet Primal Sleep Problems Blue Light Blockers-min

How can we escape blue light?

Fortunately there are measures you can take to limit your exposure to blue light:

  • After sunset, turn off all bright lights in your house (use candlelight or orange or red light bulbs)
  • Stop using electronics after dark…
  • …But if you must use your computer after dark, install the free f.lux program to minimise blue light
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible, install black out blinds (or go for the cheap option and stick card against the windows at night)
  • Sleep with an eye mask
  • Go one step further and wear blue light blocking glasses after dark (with orange, amber or red tinted lenses)

How well do you sleep? Do you limit your exposure to blue light after sunset? I’d love to hear your sleep tips in the comments below!

paleo diet birthday resolutions-min

Paleo Birthday Resolutions

It’s my birthday today, which is the perfect time to evaluate my achievements this past year – and to focus on what I want to achieve in this brand new, unchartered year.

This past year can be summarised by one word for me: Paleo!  I’ve travelled to America twice for PrimalCon and the Ancestral Health Symposium and met so many amazing, lifelong, Paleo friends along the way.  I’ve refined my Paleo nutrition and found what works for me.  My housemate and a few friends have adopted a Paleo lifestyle, which I am thrilled about.  I’ve spent a lot of time this year researching and reading in the Paleosphere – and of course, I started this blog.  My biggest personal achievement this year has been my fitness.  I have never been as fit as I am now and it enhances almost every aspect of my life.  Linked into all of these factors, my sleep has been another huge transformation this past 12 months.  I used to really struggle to fall asleep, sleep very poorly, then struggle to wake up in the morning.  The last few months however, I’ve been tired at bedtime, sleeping soundly and waking up before my alarm almost every morning!

It seems like a timely point to work out what I want to achieve between now and my next Birthday, with the help of some “New Years” resolutions.  So, from tomorrow: –

1.       I’m going to see the sunrise and sunset every day.

This is going to be quite a challenge, but it seems a really important link, to the body’s natural circadian rhythm.  After all, we should live alongside the natural day; staying up until 4am isn’t good for us.  Here in Sydney Sunrise is between about 5:15am (this month) and 7am in the winter months.  This should be fairly easy.  I’ll get up just before sunrise, so I should see the sunrise on my walk into work.  The time of year will then determine how long I spend in the gym/ swimming pool before I go to work – or perhaps I’ll even start work early?  Sunset will be a lot more of a challenge, as in Sydney it varies from around 4:50pm in June to about 8:10pm in the summer months (I do miss those long summer evenings in the UK!).  I’m not sure how I’ll tackle this one in the winter, but the summer should be quite achievable.

2.       I’m going to get rid of five things every day.

One Primal area I really struggle with is minimalism!  I have a lot of “stuff”.  My friend Lars over at Primal Minimalist has recently started a new daily habit of de-cluttering his house by five things every day.  I could honest do this every day for the next year – and probably still have quite a lot left by my next birthday.  So this is what I’m going to do!

3.       I’m only going to eat local food.

I think I’m probably fairly compliant on this one already, when I eat at home.  When I eat out however (which is all too frequently), I often have no idea where the food is sourced from.  I need to know this.  I think it’s really important to eat local food (and ideally, organic).  This should also mean I am only eating seasonally, which is also important.  I can hopefully achieve this by bringing in my lunch to work, and eating out less.  When I do eat out, I’ll be very careful to select somewhere that uses local food – and I won’t be afraid to ask!  One area that might not be possible is coconut oil; I’ll investigate further, but may need to make an exception here.

4.       I’m going to up the ante on my chin-up & fitness mission.

By my next birthday I want to be able to do ten unassisted pull-ups and be working towards hand-stand push-ups!  I also want to be considerably fitter and stronger than I am today.  As I have never been as fit and strong as I am today, this is all very exciting new territory.

Are you still sticking to your New Years or birthday resolutions?  Which new Paleo habits would you like to adopt?  What do you think of my resolutions?

paleo diet birthday resolutions-min