There’s a reason to reacquaint yourself with Mother Nature.
It’s more than a ‘hippy dippy’ axom of being one with all the frolicking animals in the forest.
It’s about applying a basic level of intuition to the lifestyle habits of modern humans compared to those of our ancestors evolving in the millions of years before us.
It should be common sense to look back at the environmental factors we aligned our daily sleep/wake patterns with before industrialization put bright artificial lighting in every room.
It should be common sense to look at the agricultural methods of humans in the near 11,880 years after the neolithic revolution, before the advent of monoculture farming (established circa 1901).
Unfortunately, it is far from common practice.
As of 2010, investigators suggest ultra-processed foods account for nearly 60% of the average American’s diet. We didn’t evolve to eat this way.
In the same period, over a third of Americans are believed to be chronically sleep deprived. We didn’t evolve to sleep this way.
Our habits are off course.
Worse, they are creating an environment of cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and obesity.
The reason to acquaint yourself with Mother Nature is mission-critical.
The distance we must travel to go from diseased obesity to lean, efficient, and optimized human performance is not far, but it requires choices.
Choices like self-discipline and an intentional approach to living your life.
It’s about choosing more and tending to the systems evolution set in place. It is assuming your strong, primal body in place of the fragile and sickly modern one.
Make the choice. Here are 11 ways to do it.
11 ways to primal resilience:
1. Move your body. Carry some things while you’re at it. Muscle is purposeful. Biomechanics evolved so we could move our body. Failing to move your body prevents neurogenesis (neuron creation), muscle tone, and bone mineralization.
2. Get real sunlight during the day. Sunlight heals. How?
- UV-b radiation stimulates the production of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is responsible for strengthening immunity, building muscle mass, and maintaining healthy bones.
- Sunlight also kills microbes and helps you maintain a healthy, balanced skin biome.
- One of the most important reasons to get sunlight? It sets your circadian rhythm (your sleep/wake cycle). Low-angle sun exposure (morning/late afternoon) is believed to be the strongest zeitgeber (way to set the clock).
3. Use real light at night. Our lives are full of improper environmental cues.
- One of the most significant factors leading to delayed sleep onset? Artificial light exposure. The brightness of many artificial lights far exceeds the ideal level that occurs in nature. Aim to mimic the wavelengths that occur in a standard day. Use shorter wavelengths (whites + blues) during the day and warmer hues/longer wavelengths (reds + oranges) at night. If you don’t use red lights yet, they will change your life. These strips and these bulbs are awesome for nighttime. Use a box like this first thing in the morning for bonus help.
4. Practice real sleep patterns. Nighttime is for sleeping, not TV and massive blue-light emitting screens. Aim to follow the sun.
5. Sleep Naked. Temperature control is paramount. Clothes interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate temperature. Lose the clothes and control body temperature with bedding. Tools like this help cool your bed.
6. Be a master of your environmental cues. Lights, temperature, and bedroom organization.
- Your body needs to cool down at night. Drop the indoor temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, allow your body to regulate its own temperature with easily removable bedding. See “Get hot” below for more, but getting in a hot bath or dry sauna can help you subsequently lower body temperature.
- Control the light you see at night. Blue light delays melatonin by as much as 3 hours. Again, red light will change your life. Blackout shades are similarly awesome.
- While studies are somewhat inconclusive, eliminating electronics and their electromagnetic frequencies will certainly not hurt your sleep. At worst, they may disrupt your pineal gland and its signal to release melatonin.
- Maintain a true sleeping environment. Don’t watch TV in your bed. Don’t study in your bed. Don’t eat in your bed. Sleep in your bed.
7. Be a master of your physiological cues. Create guidelines for caffeine consumption, alcohol use, sugar, THC, CBD, or other chemical sleep/wake triggers.
- Alcohol destroys your sleep in nearly every single respect: lower REM, lower NREM, increased sleep fragmentation (waking up more frequently), at times, increased sleep latency (increased HR, blood pressure, body temperature may all be factors), and finally, far lower overall sleep quality.
- Caffeine has approximately a 5 hour half-life, meaning any afternoon consumption will almost certainly be circulating in your system when you attempt to sleep. This leads to increased sleep latency, increased potential for sleep fragmentation, and lower overall sleep quality.
- THC and other cannabinoids vary in their impact on sleep. Generally, it is safe to say THC will lower your total REM sleep but still simultaneously increases some stages of NREM and overall sleep time.
- Interestingly, a breath rate of 5.5 breaths/minute almost exactly matches another physiological phenomenon called Mayer waves. 5.5 cycles per minute is the frequency of variations in arterial blood pressure. Matching this resonant frequency leads to respiratory sinus arrhythmia, another term for optimizing the adaptability of the cardiovascular system. A more adaptable cardiovascular system means a stronger, healthier heart.
9. Try to breathe too much (with supervision). Over-breathing leads to increased firing of the SA node in the heart, which subsequently stimulates the fight-or-flight stress response in the body.
- As noted above, this is one reason you should limit your breathing. But in some instances, it can be advantageous to over-breathe. Specifically, breathing techniques like the Wim Hof method provide a healthy dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) to the system and can potentially boost cardiovascular health.
10. Practice meditation. Meditation is powerful.
- Meditation alone has the potential to reinvigorate your gut health and boost healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome. You can use certain types of meditation to become more creative. Or more focused. Or have more accurate thinking
- The best way to do it is by getting into a Finnish style dry sauna with alternating heating and cooling periods of about 15 and 20 minutes, respectively. Some researchers suggest you may be able to get similar benefits from a 30-60 minute hot bath. Heat exposure can be strategically used at night to catalyze a relevant drop in core body temperature, and subsequently, healthy sleep onset.