Category Archives: Sleep

Sun-damage, do we need to wear sunblock inside?

Most of my patients feel like they aged exponentially in 2020.  They feel obligated to smile with their “eyes” while wearing the mask so people don’t think they are unfriendly or mad.  Lots of Botox this year to fight crows feet.  However, that is not the main reason … most people would never suspect the artificial light in their house or office as a culprit for creating sun-damage.  

People spent an extraordinary amount of time inside, in front of their computers, phones, tablets etc. Women said they haven’t put on makeup in almost a year because they rarely leave the house.  

Blue light, the kind emitted from screens, is a type of high energy visible light, or HEV. While blue light is strongest from environmental sources like the sun, electronic screens can have similar effects.  Blue light can increase signs of aging and sun-damage such as hyperpigmentation, collagen breakdown, redness, inflammation, swelling/edema and oxidative stress in the form of free radicals. Sleep-disrupting qualities from watching TV and using our phones at night results in a lack of sleep which causes hormone fluctuations that can flare skin conditions and can accelerate aging.

Even exposure time as short as an hour can cause oxidative stress in skin cells that leads to aging and sun-damage.  

Blue light used as LED therapy to help decrease inflammation and bacteria in acne is a single wave length.  The blue light that we are exposed to in the environment has a broader spectrum. This full range of high-energy visible light is the cause of accelerated photo-aging and skin concerns.  It is more pronounced in sunlight and fluorescent light than in incandescent light.  However, the brilliant white LED bulbs that are so popular are an increased risk for sun-damage.

While it can feel pointless to put on sunscreen for days spent inside staring at computer screens or scrolling through phones, don’t forget to protect your skin from blue light. 

Sunblock vs Sunscreen – Sunscreen does not protect against the UVC rays that are coming from the blue light devices.  To fully protect yourself, use sunblock specifically formulated to block blue light. Physical blocks with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide help reflect light rays to offer broad protection against UV. The newest sunsblocks protect skin without the heavy, white cast of zinc oxide.  They come with a sheer tint which adds another layer of protection as well as making them more cosmetically appealing. 

My favorite sunblocks:
https://www.alastin.com/collections/welcome?designate-location=3187

https://revisionskincare.com/?scpid=20183

 

 

Taking a Nap is Like Rebooting Your Brain

In some places, towns essentially shut down in the afternoon while everyone goes home for a siesta. Unfortunately, in the U.S.—more bound to our corporate lifestyles than our health—a mid-day nap is seen as a luxury and, in some cases, a sign of pure laziness. But before you feel guilty about that weekend snooze or falling asleep during a movie, rest assured that napping is actually good for you and completely natural phenomena in the circadian (sleep-wake cycle) rhythm.

As our day wears on, even when we get enough sleep at night, our focus and alertness degrade. While this can be a minor inconvenience in modern times, it may have meant life or death for our ancestors. Whether you are finishing up a project for work or hunting for your livelihood, a nap can rekindle your alertness and have your neurons back up and firing on high in as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

Big name (and high-dollar) companies recognize this. Google and Apple are just a few that allow employees to have naptime. Studies have affirmed that short naps can improve awareness and productivity. Plus, who wouldn’t love a boss that lets you get a little shut-eye before the afternoon push?

A study from the University of Colorado Boulder found that children who missed their afternoon nap showed less joy and interest, more anxiety, and poorer problem solving skills than other children. The same can be seen in adults that benefit from napping.

Researchers with Berkeley found an hour nap to dramatically increase learning ability and memory. Naps sort of provide a reboot, where the short-term memory is cleared out and our brain becomes refreshed with new defragged space.

So how long should you nap?

Experts say a 10 to 20 minute “power nap” is best for refreshing your mind and increasing energy and alertness. The sleep isn’t as deep as longer naps, which allows you to get right back at your day upon waking.

A 30-minute nap can lead to 30 minutes of grogginess, as you are often waking just as your body enters the deeper stages of sleep. You’ll experience some of that same fogginess if you sleep for an hour, but 60-minute naps are good for memory boosting.

The longest naps—around 90 minutes—are good for those people who just don’t get enough sleep at night. It’s a complete sleep cycle and can improve emotional memory and creativity.

Naps are good for you—physically and mentally. But don’t sacrifice night time zzz’s for an afternoon snooze; take your nap in addition to a good night’s sleep.