When I think about the benefits having a mobile phone, there are many, especially as a business owner. However, improved health and specifically a healthy sleep cycle is NOT one of them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As the daylight shifts to evening light during and after sunset, the glowing screen of a cell phone, especially if used before bedtime can have many negative effects on sleep quality. Some of those effects I’ve noticed myself, and with a little bit of searching online, I was able to find numerous articles and studies that confirmed this.
The main problem (besides staying up late watching videos, reading blogs, or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram) seems to be the unnatural amount of blue light exposure we get from the screens at that time of day, when normally the natural light frequencies would contain much less blue, ie. the end of a sunset, a campfire, candlelight, or little to no light at all.
Smartphone manufacturers and app developers have even caught on to this, with Apple offering a built-in “Night Shift” feature that can be turned on and off, or set to automatically dim the blue light of the screen at sunset.
The dimming of blue light really only solves one problem though…there’s still the problem of an unnatural sleep cycle. This cycle is a part of our Circadian Rhythm.
I wanted to get back in tune with my circadian rhythm because I knew it was such a key part of overall good health and vitality. I usually feel my best going to sleep just after sunset, and waking up with the sunrise, but find that hard to do when living mostly indoors and with so many other distractions. I also wondered about how the changing lunar cycle and seasonal cycles affected my sleep. What about winter when the days were shorter? What about during a full moon?
Around this time we were contacted by the developer of an app that sounded like exactly what I was looking for., with an offer to test out an early version.
It’s called Paleo clock. I wouldn’t suggest relying on health apps or any other technology to get through day to day life, but they can certainly be quite informative and help us get a better understanding of our bodies and in this case, our natural cycles. Paleo clock does the best job of that I’ve seen so far.
Here’s what they say about it:
“Paleo Clock is a health and wellbeing app that calculates the solar and lunar phase in your location, then gives you the best times to be sleeping, exercising, using your mental muscles and more. It also activates red screen glow on your device at night at the optimal time for melatonin production.
Paleo clock was designed for optimal performance and recovery in elite athletes, but everyone can benefit by reconnecting to the natural solar, lunar and seasonal rhythms, using the ancient chronobiology which only so very recently changed”
What I like most about the app is that it helped me to better understand and structure my day for exercise, mental function, and of course…sleep. At each day of the lunar cycle, solar cycle and seasonal cycles these times are going to be different, and Paleo Clock keeps track of all that depending on your location.
I can see it being quite useful for someone who frequently travels as well, as the circadian rhythm gets really thrown off by such a sudden shift in daylight hours. Using the app could help you get back into a regional specific sleep cycle more quickly, reducing the symptoms of jetlag.
If you’re physically active being more in tune with a natural sleep cycle can vastly improve athletic performance and recovery. I really notice the ill effects when I’ve had a hard training day and stay up late that night. Just a little less sleep, or even the same amount but not at the right times can negate much of the benefits from exercise. Good sleep seems to be a pillar of health and fitness. Diet and training, though they help, can’t compensate for poor sleep.
Paleo Clock is currently available for Android, and I’ve heard it’s in development for iOS as well. It was created by Daniel Sainty, founder of the non-profit organization Rewild Australia. All proceeds from the app go to the organization aimed at teaching people natural skills for living on the Earth.