Candlelight, Sleep, Emotion and Mood

Candlelight, Sleep, Emotion and Mood

Only a little more than a century ago, humans experienced predictable periods of light and dark that were driven by the solar day, creating intrinsic circadian rhythms in our bodies.  Many of our essential biological systems are governed by these circadian rhythms including our sleep–wake behavior, our hormone secretion, our cellular health and our brain function.  Our increased use of artificial light sources disrupts the natural rhythms that these biological systems are governed by, and studies have shown how this impacts on our our sleep patterns and our mood leading to increased insomnia, increased anxiety and increased levels of depression.

As much as possible, we should ditch artificial lighting so we can 'reset' our brains and get back to our evolutionary rhythms. But how to do this?  Here is one easy tip that anyone can try:

Candles!  They are a secret weapon in the toolbox for evening relaxation and healthy brain mood.  I use them in the daytime too.  In fact, right now, on this gloomy grey day I have a beautiful candle lit on my desk adding a little extra glow (no overhead electrics are on at all).   

In the evening rather than putting on an overhead light or side lamp try lighting a candle.  The glow will be much less intense than anything you would get from an electric light but that means it's doing a good job at resetting your brain and helping regulate those mood patterns that electric light loves to disrupt.  It sounds so simple, but it's incredibly effective at restoring your brain's natural circadian rhythm. 

Not only that but the science shows that candle light actually boosts mood rather than diminishes it as electric sources tend to do.  Low light emitted from candles creates a soft illumination that has been shown to calm our minds and put us in a relaxed meditiative state.  This kind of instant mood relaxation is an absolute win-win for the evening. 

If you couple candle light with pure essential oils and choose an aromatherapy candle then not only are you visually calming your mind, you are also calming your mind through your olfactory senses as the nasal passage leads to the olfactory bulb which leads to the amygdala - the fight or flight part of your brain. This in turn recognises 'good' smells like essential oils and sends signals that we are safe and can relax.  Isn't the body just blummin' incredible?!

And despite all the science that has come out on this in recent years - all of us, intuitively, already knew this right?

So when you sit down to relax this evening, try ditching the overhead bright lights, try turning off the TV, try listening to some music instead of zoning into your phone and try reading by candlelight.  It's a beautiful way to end the day I promise.  

Just make sure you don't nod off and leave the candle burning - be safe my lovely friends, Marie xx


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