About Brighter Days, Darker Nights:

This is a science-based health & wellness publication and community focused on circadian rhythms for parents and families.

I, Nikko, doula and mother, write this especially for families interested in cultivating circadian rhythmicity for the birthing year and beyond.

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Interesting write ups you're doing on circadian rhythms and the effect of sunlight on our overall wellbeing. Your last post especially on sunbathing is quite a read.

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About the Author:

Nikko lives in Oregon with her husband, children, dog and cat. She is a doula and circadian coach with a B.S. in General Science (emphasis in Biology and Psychology) from the University of Oregon.

Why Circadian Rhythms?

Scientist estimate 99% of the US lives a life of circadian disruption based on night-lighting alone. This modern, disrupted kind of lifestyle is described in literature as:

  • having a shortened sleep cycle

  • being inactive in the active period

  • and being active in the inactive period

It is not only bad for people, it is also bad for wildlife. Lighting from cities has terrible effects on birds and other wildlife, making it impossible for them to complete their life cyclies. It also obscures the night sky, making people travel to more and more remote areas if they want to see the night sky. But, perhaps more immediately, this lifestyle is also associate with myriad health troubles, from sleeplessness to, ultimately, early death. And, for hopeful and expecting parents, maternal disruption is correlated with adverse outcomes across the entire lifespan of their babies.

Do you (or someone you take care of or care about):

  1. Go back to sleep in the morning after first waking? Snooze the alarm clock?

  2. First thing after getting up, do high-intensity exercise?

  3. Skip morning sunshine?

  4. Skip breakfast?

  5. Skip afternoon sunshine? Have afternoon caffeine instead of a nourishing lunch?

  6. Act sedentary all afternoon with the air conditioner on high?

  7. Fail to eat dinner until after sunset? Start boozing (and/or sugar-loading) after dinner?

  8. Turn on bright artificial lighting to stay up late? Turn up the thermostat in the evening to stay comfortable without putting on layers?

  9. Perform high-intensity exercise after dinner? Rarely cuddle or make love in the evenings?

  10. Consume lots of artificial white, blue, and green light at night? Fall asleep with the TV on? Set the alarm for a time that is going to hurt in the morning?

These are ten common habits that destroy the connection between your body and local solar time, which drives your circadian rhythm.

The good news is that even if we may have trashed our circadian rhythms in the past, we can resynchronize them now.

Whereas fifty years ago, we had hardly any of this knowledge, we now stand at the brink of a transformation. Lack of rhythmicity is proving itself a uniting factor (behind the scenes) in many health problems, starting in the womb.

The power of circadian rhythms to support or detract from health inspires me to get this information out to the people to whom it can make the most difference: families.

The way we use light, feeding and other cues on a daily basis changes our very DNA via circadian rhythms. And strong circadian rhythmicity is a new frontier in public health. As we age, we tend to become less and less susceptable to light (because our bodies become more calcified and unable to synthesize melatonin). But babies in the womb through puberty are amazingly receptive! The good news is they are equally receptive as they are vulnerable.

The changes that will usher in a new era where children are born into healthy circadian rhythms can only be carried out by us as individuals, families, and workplaces. Most of all, rhythmicity and wellbeing starts at home.

This publication is about the science and practice of strengthening circadian rhythms for ourselves and for the rising generation of children.

DISCLAIMER

All material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any medical condition, nor to replace medical advice offered by qualified health care providers. Any application of the material provided is at your own discretion and is your own, sole responsibility.


People

Doula Nikko
Postpartum doula writing on Substack to create community for families. I am passionate about the intersection of environment and wellness. B.S. in General Science (biology and psychology) from the University of Oregon.