Endless Summer Syndrome – Part I

by Dr. Christopher on December 20, 2010

Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.  ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh 

What if christmas lights are bad for your health?

In the darkest month of the year that is December, you leave for work at 6:30 AM just as the sun is rising.  You leave for home at 4:30 PM just as the sun is setting.   A common complaint is “It’s dark when I leave for work and dark when I leave for home.  It’s always darkness!” 

You think it’s winter.     

But your body doesn’t.  

As pretty as those Christmas lights are or the bright lights of New York City, what if I told you that they cause depression, obesity, diabetes, cancer, a common cold, and premature aging? 

The Purpose of Winter

Remember, genetically, human beings are hunter-gatherers.  We’ve spent the majority of our existence in nature without technology, living according to the laws of planet Earth.     

In the summer, the long hours of sunlight allowed more life to be lived by all beings.  The activities of play, sex, and eating were increased in the summer when foods would be abundant.  Fruits and vegetables were in bloom and meat was easier to come by as animals too, were in the act of playing, mating, and eating.    

In the winter, the hours of sunlight decreased drastically.  With less light to see, life activities decline.  With only meat to supply our diets (fruits and vegetables were much harder to come by), the energy for play, sex, and eating was simply, not there.     

The purpose of winter is this:    

  • Survival: To live through the unforgiving environment of cold, famine, and less light until the warm days of summer are back.

We all know that bears hibernate.  Most don’t realize that human beings are meant to hibernate too (we’ll get to the specifics later).  When our body perceives the season as “summer” because of the endless light we expose ourselves too, the preparation-for-hibernation phase never leads to hibernation.    

And health is never truly achieved.    

The Purpose of Summer

Summer brings more sunlight, more life activity and more food, and with it, play, sex and eating.    

The purpose of summer is this:    

  1. Reproduction: biologically, is the sole purpose of life.  Only sex and the resulting offspring lead to immortality. 
  2. Eating: food is abundant.  Energy is for the purpose of reproduction, play, and other activities.
  3. Preparation for winter: the long-term storage of excess food because summer means winter is around the corner.  With winter comes famine.

Summer is a period of about five months when we are more metabolically active, where our bodies react to the environment of large amounts of food, more sunlight, more heat by living at a quicker pace.  The problem is that in nature, summer doesn’t last twelve months of out of the year.     

In comes “Endless Summer Syndrome” (a concept from Lights Out, not mine!).    

Endless Summer Syndrome

Seriously bright lights.  Televisions.  Computers.  Christmas lights.  They all shine light on our skin which our body perceives as sunlight.  Being exposed to these technologies is a primary cause of disease and lack of sleep.    

Here’s what happens:    

Long hours of light and no sleep … 

  • your body thinks its summer … because of your internal clock which measures one revolution around the sun, it knows winter and famine are on the horizon.   
  • summer means hibernation preparation.
  • increased craving of carbohydrates: because only carbohydrates cause insulin release and insulin converts sugar into fat storage.
  • hyperlipidemia: increased fats in your blood.
  • increased blood glucose: sugar, nature’s antifreeze … the body has to protect from the threat of freezing somehow!
  • high blood pressure: squeezes more nutrients into your cells for storage.
  • insulin resistance
  • All physiologically normal states for the purpose of hibernation preparation that resolve after periods of extended sleep that are supposed to occur in winter.   
  • All physiologically normal states that do not parallel the cycle of the seasons … making health in its truest definition elusive.

Ask the Right Questions

  1. What if everything you’ve been told about your diet from the government is wrong?
  2. What if the only cure to your disease is to “live right”?
  3. What if any disease you have was not cured by medication, surgery, or chemotherapy, but by sleeping in complete darkness in patterns that parallel sunrise and sunset?

After reading Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival, my world was turned upside down.  New information about the cause of all disease, about sleep, diet, exercise, and happiness was revealed to me.  It’s important to analyze new information through various filters, through available evidence, experience, and common sense.     

The information I now understand, which I will continue to share with you, seems unbelievably true.  So true that it’s astounding that this isn’t mainstream information.  In later parts, I will go into the specifics of hormones, why increased insulin is directly correlated to lifespan, how melatonin can prevent cancer, and practical steps in today’s world for implementing this life-changing advice.     

Exposing yourself to less light and sleeping more may be bad for your social life.  But so is obesity, cancer, and depression.   Fortunately, following a few practical tips can trick your body into thinking it’s winter so that health results.  

Parts II and III.

Resources

  1. Wiley, T. S., and Bent Formby. Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival. New York: Pocket, 2000.

Many Thanks to Billy Gregson for help editing this post.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail December 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

interesting but maybe you should put a boobytrap on this blog for anyone reading it at 10:52 p.m. at night on the winter solstice right before going to bed 🙂

Eileen December 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I spent almost every Sat. and Sun. from August through Oct. buying local produce at the Public Market, and preparing it for the freezer for winter. I have lots of veggies and berries and fruits frozen. It took a lot of work, but now I am reaping the benefits.

I am much more physically active during the warmer, sunny weather, but in the winter I still enjoy walking, snow shoeing, in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. If I can find a place that is protected from the wind, I will sit and face directly into the sun, and my face gets hot, like in the summer.

The winter is what I call my “quiet time”. A time to look inward, incubate ideas, plans, write, read, etc.
Rising with the sun, and going to sleep early helps to maintain my energy level. Avoiding artificial light, television, any artificial stimulation… keeps me balanced. I always travel in the spring, so winter is a good time to research and plan my trips.

There is a time for everything throughout the year. Living close to nature, or at least trying to…. really helps us to understand that life is a circle…. and we just keeping going round and round, like the earth we live on. When we live this way, our bodies know what to expect, our natural cycles become established, and good health is often the result.

Our culture and lifestyle has become so far removed from anything natural, it’s no wonder, so many people are not healthy. Thank you for sharing this very valuable information, Dr. Chris. Enjoy the season…. the days are getting longer as we speak.

Christopher December 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Hahahaha. What a great idea Gail! If only I could figure out a way.

Christopher December 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Whenever I read what you write Dr. S, it’s always like I’m reading something right out of my own head. Makes sense because you of course helped shape who I am today.

I like how you use the winter as “quiet time,” to think. I time to create ideas in your head and then manifest them in the summer. I suppose that’s what we all do a little since darkness/cold limits us in the winters.

Your welcome, Dr. S, and thank you too!

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