Having been brought up in the UK my whole life, the winter months were the most depressing season I have ever experienced. The fact that the light source was so bad meant we would rarely see any sunlight, if we were lucky perhaps we would glimpse the sun once a week.
Comparing that climate to other places in the world such as California, the Middle East or South America, where sunshine is present nearly all year round, you will notice that the people who live there are usually in a good mood. Darkness can be as much a stress on the human body as your poor food choices.
All the cells in your body flourish when you expose yourself to bright light, allowing them to produce energy more resourcefully. This is why the population of those countries with a good light source feel so much better all year round. I remember that the summer months in England were the happiest months of the year for most. People would be so joyful and make the most of any time spent outdoors.
Let the sun shine in
The reason behind this is the fact that sunlight, and also strong incandescent light, simulates the mitochondria in each and every single cell of the body helping you produce energy. On the other hand, darkness and fluorescent light (commonly used in offices, shops and apartments) causes the mitochondria to decrease in size, therefore decelerating energy production.
Darkness can be as much a stress on the human body as your poor food choicesVahdaneh Vahid
When your energy production becomes sluggish, it simulates the rise of adrenaline and if you read my articles on weekly basis, then this is now a stress hormone you will be very familiar with.
Adrenaline fires up your liver to release stored sugar and also promotes your fat cells to release fat into your circulatory system and it does this so that your body can help increase its energy levels.
Adrenaline, if you aren’t already aware by now, can cause all types of negative side effects, such as anxiety, nervousness, food cravings, fatigue and insomnia to name a few.
Darkness; a stress trigger
Darkness and the dull winter months can also simulate another stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone has the capability of breaking down your important muscle tissue and as an outcome of doing that, it promotes the storage of fat around your middle. Of course this is something we should try to prevent from occurring in the first place.
If you’re blessed to be living in a country where the sun shines all year around then you needn’t worry as much. Although many clients I have spoken too in the UAE don’t seem to get out enough in the sun in my opinion. I would strongly suggest that you expose yourself to sunlight on a daily basis for just 20 minutes. If you are less fortunate and live in a colder country, then try adding some light indoors instead.
You can do this regardless of what climate you live in, adding indoor light will help keep your energy production up and lower those stress hormones that wreak so much havoc on one’s health.
For your indoor environment lighting - chicken lights are the best purchase. These are bright incandescent bulbs and can be found in any hardware store.
We live in a highly stressful environment as it is, with, electromagnetic, toxic, mental and physical stress all being so high, the least we can do is add a little light back into our lives. Our Paleolithic ancestor’s health was second to none, this was mainly because they lived outdoors all day and were exposed to plenty of light, it is high time we brighten up our days too.
Vahdaneh Vahid is a UK-based Personal Trainer who recently moved to Dubai. She has had an interest in fitness from a young age. Her motto is now "Train Don't Drain" and teaches her clients that a balanced understanding of their physical, mental and emotional wellness is key. She can be found on Twitter: @vvfitness