One of the most common questions we get from people is, “Can I just do things naturally? I don’t want to tamper with nature.” Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. We have ALREADY profoundly tampered with nature and with our natural cycles.
Take sleep for example. The advent of the light bulb has given us electricity, which has allowed us to squeeze more daytime out of our day. While we may be more productive, we are also altering our natural sleep cycle. Being inside, protected from the elements is great, as well, yet it comes with a cost. We’re not outside as much, and so we’re not getting as much exposure to sunlight, which has been shown through science to have an impact on our circadian rhythm. So we’ve lost that.
The advent of TV, smartphones, and technology in general, has given us a lot of increased productivity and enjoyment out of life, but it’s come with a very heavy cost. Now we’re seeing that there are many damaging effects from too much exposure to blue light. And that’s just one of many examples.
As far as trying to get everything naturally from our diet, that also doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny, because our ancestors typically foraged or grew things locally. They were much more connected to the local ecosystem. Now you’re getting food grown thousands of miles away that’s trucked in, where it’s been exposed to time, heat, and light, which have all been shown to degrade nutrient content. The industrialization of food also has been shown to profoundly impact its nutritional status.
All these things combined have shown us that you cannot go back to nature in a sense. You’re paying a heavy price for the progress that we now live with due largely to science. Why not use the same science to compensate for and cope with the challenges all these improvements bring?
That’s why I believe things like supplemental melatonin for sleep, blue light filtering apps on screens to get the blue light out at night, and the idea of maybe using a sleep aid if you are having a hard time falling asleep, are all worthy of consideration.
Being under increased pressure from the demands of modern society seems to have given many of us “restless mind syndrome”. (Not to be confused with the medical ‘restless leg syndrome’ but probably due to the same cause!) We can’t relax. The mind can’t disconnect.
As far as your diet is concerned, it’s the same thing. It’s great to eat as much fish, fruits, and natural foods as you can, but the modern challenges of life will deplete nutrients in your body at a faster rate. Take for example B vitamins; when you’re stressed, our bodies are known to use higher amounts.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you need to start balancing the progress that science and technology have given us in modern life with the challenges and costs of that as well.
Brian Cunningham is the CEO of PureLife LLC, and has also worked as a personal trainer for Equinox.