Month: February 2016

How to Sleep Deeper, Have Better Sex and Make Good Decisions

What if I told you I discovered a new supplement that can unlock superhero like powers inside of you? Do you fancy being a bit of a Bradley Cooper type character from the film ‘Limitless’? Do you fancy waking up every morning ready to jump out of bed? Do you want to have the strongest erections you have ever had? Sounds like BS right? How much would you be willing to pay for this? A lot I imagine if you are anything like the supplement whore I used to be.

Well, guess what. It is free. It’s called the sun and it has been around for rather a long time. I even believe there is some famous book that starts off saying that in the beginning there was light.

In this article, I am going to show some of the benefits we miss out when we deprive ourselves of this wonderful drug and how you can fully harness the power to make yourself superhuman. I’ll do this by teaching you how to reset your body clock with AM sunlight and how to be mindful of artificial light in the evening. If you want to skip the benefits then head to The Body Clock Reset Protocol at the bottom.

Firstly, What Is Light?

Light. Have you ever stopped to think about what it is? You might be able to conjure up the sun or a light bulb as an answer, but did you know light also includes wi-fi, radio waves, microwaves, X-rays etc.?

What you and I know as light, ‘blue, green, orange…’ is actually termed ‘visible light’ and forms only a fraction of the overall spectrum of light emitted from the sun. In fact, the visible spectrum is only one of seventy-three octaves! Take a look here:

Spectrum of Light
Many of us don’t really think too much about light as it isn’t that obvious to our senses, thus we don’t think about how it can impact the body. However, I want you to think about Ultraviolet (UV) light. We all know that it generates the important vitamin D,  a process we can feel on our skin. UV is a form of light. You may have also heard of infrared (IR), especially if you know a thing or two about saunas. Well, if you are familiar with infrared then you know your body senses it in the form of heat. This is also taught to children in elementary Geography, in the form of ‘The Greenhouse Effect’. This is why it is no Bueno to leave your dog in the car as you will end up with a hot dog.

Using UV and infrared as examples is an attempt to illustrate how light can impact our bodies. So, just because we can’t feel the other parts of the spectrum consciously, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a dramatic impact on our bodies.

Master & Commander: The Body Clock

Can you picture a caveman? If you are a Mark Sisson fan you might be thinking of Grock. Well, my caveman is Byron, and he makes a lot of groans and kind of clambers around the floor. Have you got your caveman in your mind? Is it a he or a she? What colour are its hair and skin? Is it making any sounds?

Now, tell me, what kind of watch does he or her have on? Yep, mine doesn’t have one either. So how does ‘Grock/Byron/generic caveman name’ tell the time without an Apple Watch? The Sun.

The sun is the most sophisticated information delivery service in existence. Far more powerful than the Royal Mail, UPS, Google Mail or Slack. The human body receives gazillions of messages alone from the sun. So what is all this information for?

Well, this message system is there to signal exactly what time it is to the body, depending on the type of light it chucks out. The type of light that comes from the sun varies throughout the day. Broadly speaking, first thing in the morning is blue, green and red. Then mid morning UV enters the came. Later on, the UV disappears and in walks infrared. Eventually, we find ourselves in darkness, lit up by the moonlight.

Back when we were cavemen and not wearing any clothes or sunglasses, this light would hit our eyes and skin to signal to us what time of day it was and what season it was. We had it easy.

Fast forward to today, when we are largely covered up in clothes and makeup, living an indoor existence and surrounded by tons of artificial light we have radically altered the ability to ‘tell the time’ from a biological standpoint. Even when we do go outside, we put on sunglasses and sunscreen because we have all been brainwashed that sunlight is going to give us cancer and destroy our eyesight. So, why have cultures quite literally worshipped the sun for centuries?

So, Who Cares? Your Penis and Your Vagina for a Start  

Hopefully, you are beginning to realise that ‘time’, as you and I know it, is a completely man-made phenomena. The only time that matters to our bodies is the signal it gets from the sun.

But why does our body need to know the time? Well, our bodily functions such as hormone production work on a sequential system, as demonstrated in the picture below.

bodyclock

As soon as we disrupt our body’s ability to tell the time from natural sunlight, by sleeping in late, spending all your time indoors and then watching TV under bright lights until late at night you begin to send a rather weird signal to the body. It begins to not be able to know what time it is.

This means that your stress hormones spike in the evening when you turn on your bright lights and shuts off your sleep hormone production. Your body thinks it is morning. In fact, chances are you spend your whole day under bright artificial lights, so your body has cortisol jacked up all day long.

This leads to a myriad of health problems such as adrenal fatigue, erectile dysfunction, irregular periods, fluctuations in body temperature (how many girls are cold during the day and hot at night?) and poor digestion.

If you want a healthier sex life then start respecting the body’s ‘body clock’.

Do You Make Repeatedly Lousy Decisions?

Do you cheat on your partner? Do you choose to drink and drug rather than focussing on your new business idea? Do you reach for the donut rather than the dumbbell? Well, the hormone dopamine plays an important role in making healthy decisions.

How do we get optimal dopamine? From the sun, when UV light hits the eye and our skin. And how do we destroy dopamine? From being exposed to artificial blue light.

How does modern man currently live? 93% of the time is spent indoors! And when they are outdoors they block out UV light by wearing sunglasses, sunscreen and makeup.

Do you still think your pair of Ray-Bans is cool?

Taking Magnesium to Sleep Is ‘P**sing in the Wind’

I wrote an article for Pando a year ago on how to get better sleep, ‘Tired of being tired? 15 ways to become sleeping beauty’. Some of the info is still relevant, but I almost feel I should write a rebuttal. I didn’t emphasize the key ingredient. Light.

As I have already drilled it into you, light signals to our body what time of day it is. I have also said, disrespecting the rhythm of natural light by hanging out in front of a squabble box late at night ramps up stress hormones and ceases the production of sleep hormones. The sleep hormone is known as melatonin. Melatonin should be familiar with you as the Jedi master of high-quality sleep.

Without melatonin, you are completely unable to get into a nice deep sleep. Not only this but even if you do make it to sleep with low levels of melatonin, the body’s repair process can not run optimally as it uses melatonin to create new neural pathways in the brain. Have you ever wondered why you keep forgetting things that you learnt that day? If you really care about the performance of the brain, you need to start respecting the body block.

An Honourable Mention: Food

Unfortunately, I can only give you a few cliff notes on food in this article otherwise, your last strap of dopamine will be blasted by the length of time you have to spend in front of your computer screen.

Put simply, food is light. What? OK, let me start again.

Just like how we humans receive data from the sun, so do plants. Does photosynthesis ring any bells from your cell biology days? Well, depending where the plant/vegetable/fruit grows, it is encoded with an extremely specific message.

Our guts are essentially light detectors. Every time we eat a bit of food, our gut decodes the message from the food and sends the information to every cell of the body. I like to see my food now as ‘light bombs’ that are there purely to serve a message to my body.

Now, armed with this knowledge I want you to picture this. You are sat there in the middle of winter watching ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, munching away on some pineapple. What are you telling your body in that second? You are saying you live on the equator in the middle of summer. What a peculiar message to send to yourself… This can lead to a whole host of health problems such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Remember, everything should be seasonal to your local environment. This is why context is key when you follow your experts. If you live in gloomy Scotland and follow the prescribed diet of the fitness model you respect who happens to live in Los Angeles, you will yield dramatically different and likely damaging results. Context is so important when you read any advice, so try to think of the person’s local environment who is giving the  advice and try to relate if it is relevant to yours. I’ll be writing an article on context so stay tuned for this.

If you aren’t quite buying this idea of food giving off light, then check out this product coming out at the end of the year.

The Body Clock Reset Protocol

By now, you realise light is no game. Just because we are so conditioned and familiar with artificial light, it doesn’t mean it can’t have a detrimental effect on our health. So, hopefully, you are onboard the ‘let’s reset our body clock train’.

Here is the protocol

  1. Wake up at sunrise (this changes every day and seasonally) and immediately get outside with no clothing on so the light hits your body. Drink a litre of water. If you can’t do this because you live in a flat in the city then at the very least stick your head out of the window so the light hits your eye and inside your ears.
  2. For the first 40 minutes of sunrise, you can look directly at the sun without fear of damage. Start with 10 seconds and add in 10 seconds every day. Always have your bare feet touching the ground.
  3. The most important part of the day is roughly between 8-10am when UV light starts to creep in. Get as naked as possible, letting that warmth hit your gonads. Start with just 15 minutes and build your tolerance up from there.
  4. Ditch the sunglasses. The most important surface on the body is the eye. You need to let natural light hit the eyes so stop being a doozy and throw the shades in the bin.
  5. If working in the office, crack open the window to allow light in. Windows act as a filter, particularly to the UV range. We need UV to thrive.
  6. If working indoors, get outside every hour for at least a minute.
  7. Eat food seasonally and food that grows locally. If you think it is too much effort to go foraging or to a farmer’s market then look for the UK flag on supermarket produce. It couldn’t be easier.
  8.  In the evenings, avoid all artificial light where possible. Refer to my article on ‘Blue light: friend or foe’.
  9. Similar to sunrise, look at the sun during the last 40 minutes of sunset. Again, do this barefooted, connected to the earth. Trust me when I say this becomes an extremely powerful form of meditation.

Can you believe something so simple can yield such powerful results? If you don’t believe me, start to look at supercentenarian populations and many of them live in a high UV environments where their lifestyle has allowed them to harness the sun’s benefits, i.e. they don’t work in London, on a trading floor, eating fast food, in front of 6 computer screens bathing under artificial light.

Take home message: seek the sun whenever you can. Start off small if you don’t believe me and you will find you begin to crave it.

 

How Game Of Thrones Destroys A Winning Mindset

Recall the last episode of Game of Thrones (GoT) where you see the blood of a human being squirting out from their dying body as it sprays across the face of the killer. Try to remember how you felt seeing the life pulled out of someone right in front of you. Really put yourself back there as you remember the emotions you were experiencing inside of your body. If you don’t watch GoT, try to recall the last murder in a movie you watched. Did you wince? Did you stomach knot up? Did your hairs stand on end? Did you look away? Did it make you cry? Perhaps you got an adrenaline rush?

Get ready to read how the simple act of watching TV could be holding you back from becoming all you can be.

throne made of swords in a medieval fair

 

How much TV do we watch?

We spend, on average, 7.5 years of our lives watching television. Yes, 7.5 years. When I first read this, I said to myself there and then I am no longer wasting any more time watching TV. I don’t want to look back and realise I spent 10% of my life sat in front of a box, watching other people do more interesting things than me.

That being said, this isn’t a time management lecture. We are all grown ups and we each have the choice to decide how we spend our time.

“So, Jamie, why are you telling us this? Just to get on your moral high ground?”

Mirror Neurons

I was in a lecture by a gentleman called John Grinder, who introduced me mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire off in our brains as if we are performing the task we are observing. Confused? Imagine, you are sat down at a game of football and you are really really into the match. Watching the players move around the pitch, kicking the ball and sliding in for tackles causes these neurons are firing off in your brain as if you are doing the act yourself.

When I heard this phrase I began to think how it might tie into why we love watching sports as a species. I’ve never really understood why some people get so much pleasure from watching others play, but when you think of mirror neurons this really begins to make sense. If you watch Cristiano Ronaldo (I assume he is still playing football?!) score a goal in the last 90 minutes and you have been so focussed and emotionally invested in the game, you are likely to get the same adrenaline rush as if you yourself scored the goal.

I believe this is why we react so passionately and intensely when we watch others perform to a high standard. As far as our mind is concerned, we are out there on the pitch.

What’s so bad then about feeling this rush?

Mirror neurons certainly have its positives. If you have recently taken up a new sport, art or hobby then watching experts in that field can only be a positive. I believe this is the reason top level athletes and executes engage in visualisation practices. By visualising or observing the desired act, one is conditioning the brain on improving this new skill or habit.

However, mirror neurons have a dark side. Cast your memories back to the start of this article where I asked you to re-live those tense moments in GoT. Perhaps now you can understand why you felt so lousy. Your brain was technically carrying out the same act as it observed. Yes, you killed that person.

Perhaps as a one off it is ok. But spending 7.5 years watching the same style of television is only going to condition your brain more and more on these negative states. By which point, you have a chronic case of negativity in your mind. Can you picture someone who spends a lot of time watching thrill seeking action movies, depressing news channels or nerve racking tv shows? Can you describe their personalities? Are you seeing any patterns evolve?

How your environment shapes you

I used to have a chronic state of anger all through my life. I also used to watch a  copious amount of TV shows, often dark-themed and depressing. I watched 100s of movies, many of which I repeated. I was always drawn to films on the darker side of life. Do I believe my character was partly shaped by what I feeding my mind? Absolutely.

Our minds are so sensitive and precious. Our prehistoric brains that go back 100,000s of years cannot distinguish between real life and what it sees on an artificially created tv show. We need to be aware of how our environment has the ability to radically shape our mind and thoughts. We’ve all heard ‘you are an average of the 5 people you surround yourself with’, but I want to extend this and say you are an average of your environment, period.

Challenge

Who here wants to pick a life they create, rather than one that is being created for them by the tv network, Hollywood studio, Sky News or Facebook Inc? Summer is nearly here, why don’t you try giving up TV for 30 days and see how it changes your life? We have the ability to choose our lives. The question is, are you willing to step outside the box?