“Everything changed for me, health-wise, when I started paying attention to my internal clock.”
You can only read so many papers about how light at night is messing you up before you try changing your life in response. For me, it was about two years into my Ph.D at the University of Michigan, studying the mathematics of circadian rhythms, that I finally decided, “OK, I’m going to put myself on a regular bedtime. I’m going to blast myself with light during the day, and avoid it fanatically at night.” Within two weeks, I was sleeping better, running faster, and feeling happier. These days, I’m the friend at the party who insists on dimming the indoor lights if it’s dark outside: that’s how protective I’ve become of keeping my clock in sync.
One thing I think about a lot is how many people out there can’t put themselves on a super regular light-dark schedule. I’m talking shift workers, gig workers, new parents, frequent travelers. When should these people get and avoid light? When should they nap, to set themselves up well for tomorrow or for their next shift? It’s a really hard problem: mathematically and logistically. But I’ve got a great team at Arcascope to help me work on solving it.