News Blog for Seattle's Wedgwood and View Ridge Neighborhoods

 

5 simple ways to boost your energy in the New Year!

February 4th, 2018 · No Comments

Story written and submitted by Dr. David Ramaley

Do you ever feel like you’re too young to be as tired as you are? Or that even though you are exhausted, sleep – good sleep especially – eludes you? You’re not alone. Especially in Seattle’s grey months. Many of my patients of all ages come to me exhausted, fatigued, and so low on energy they are literally dragging themselves into my practice. They don’t get it, they say. They work out, eat healthily, and get as much sleep as they always have, even if it comes later and not as easily as it once did.

 

My practice is located at the north end of Wedgwood in Northeast Seattle, and I’ve been treating Wedgwood and View Ridge residents and their families for decades. I know how busy you are with your families and careers and other commitments, but I also know how committed many of you are to living a healthy lifestyle. I hope you find these tips helpful.

 

We may be keeping our same healthy habits like exercising, eating well, and sleeping the same number of hours, but in recent years, we’ve also added new habits to our daily routines. How are you reading this? I bet it is on your smartphone or tablet. Maybe your laptop. It’s almost certainly on an electronic device. A lot of us need to be on these devices for our jobs, and even for those who don’t, in recent years, their screen time is rapidly catching up. On average, we spend 10.5 hours in front of screens every day. These screens emit what is called “blue light.” While some of this light is natural, getting over 10 hours of it every day is definitely not.

 

At the same time, we are also indoors most of the time. So not only are we getting too much unnatural blue light, we are getting too little natural light from the sun. In fact, we spend 97% of our time inside. And a little less than half of that time is spent in front of digital screens under artificial lights and lamps – all of which is emitting blue light that disrupts our normal circadian rhythms. Natural light – like from the sun – on the other hand, helps us to regulate our normal circadian rhythms. Couple excess unnatural light with scarce natural light – what do we get? Exhaustion, fatigue, and a myriad of other health problems like migraines and hormone imbalances. No wonder why we’re so tired and feel so crummy much of the time!

 

The good news is we can do things to offset this new light equation of too much blue light and not enough natural light. And no, it doesn’t involve throwing out your iPhone and laptop (as much as we may want to!). Here are 5 simple things I have my patients do. It works for me, them, and I’m hopeful it will work for you.

 

  • Take a break outside! Even in the Seattle winter where it’s way more grey than yellow, the sun is still behind those clouds. The natural light – even with cloud cover – can give you a boost of energy to get you through that next meeting. Hold a walking meeting. Take a walk on the Burke with the kids. Run the dog to Magnuson. Or even just park further than needed to get in some extra natural light and fresh air.
  • Use sunglasses sparingly. A sunny day in January in Seattle? Break out the sunglasses and shorts, right? Well, not so fast. Feel free to wear the shorts – it’s actually good for the light to hit your skin – but skip the shades. When you’re outside, you want as much natural sunlight to hit your eyes as possible.
  • Use blue-blocking glasses. We Seattlites pride ourselves on spending lots of time outdoors. But in the winter months, our screen time can dominate more than our vitamin D time. Thanks to technology, we have glasses that can help us block harmful blue light from entering our eyes during our screen time. Try Gamma Ray glasses – available at Amazon here.
  • Replace LED and fluorescent lights with incandescent lights. You can still keep your energy conserving LED lights in other areas in and outside of your house, but in the bedroom and main living areas, try to use incandescent lights.
  • Set a digital bedtime. Shut off your screens at least 15 minutes before going to bed. Longer is preferable, but at least shoot for 15 minutes of all analog time before wanting to sleep.

For more tips on how to increase your energy and vitality and decrease your fatigue, exhaustion, and insomnia, check out my website: https://www.drramaley.com/ and my book, Perpetual Energy. In it, you’ll find 10 categories of simple things we can do to generate more energy and better health in our busy, screen-filled lives.

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