Let There Be Light AND Heat

September 3, 2017

I recently discovered that there are such things as chronotypes and that some people are genetically Early Risers vs some are Night Owls.

In old parlance, I’m a night owl and in new lingo mentioned in The Power of When, I’m known as a Wolf chronotype.

Night Owls/Wolves are a few hours outta sync with the other early types.

Our melatonin levels last longer into the morning, making us sleepy and groggy.

Our serotonin levels also peak later in the day, making us energized only in the late afternoon and evening.

Our body temperature is lower in the morning and peak around 8pm at night, while early birds peak earlier.

Cortisol levels also pump out at different rates for the different chronotypes.

All of these discoveries made me realize I’m not abnormal in my issues but rather programmed this way genetically, and there are many others out there like me. About 20% of the population.

One of the ways suggested to get a little more in sync is to have bright light in the morning, preferably sunlight, but lightboxes are another option.

This got me thinking.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is essentially caused by lack of Sun. And it probably affects night owls/wolves the worst since we are late starters anyways.

I have used bright light boxes for many years now, along with multiple full spectrum bulbs in my lamps.

But what about heat?

Bright lights do make Winters more bearable but they are not perfect. I’m still lethargic.

Since I now know that my Wolf chronotype will naturally have lower body temperature in the morning, and it is likely worse in the Fall and Winter, why not crank up the heat as well?

I don’t need full heat in my whole home all day because that would be a waste of resources. Also, my body runs hot in the evening and night.

I just need heat exactly when my body needs it the most, in the morning hours, in my bedroom.

So, I set up a small heater in my room, set to around 79F. Then I plugged that heater onto a wall timer so that it turns on at around 530-6am and stops around 10am. Just an experiment.

I also have another wall timer with a tree lamp full of five full spectrum high watt bulbs, blasting light in the morning around 6am. That’s been there for a few years.

On top of that, I have two 10,000 lux lightboxes on my nighttable that I also blast after waking up.

Today is the first morning I woke with that combination of light AND heat, and holy cow, it was awesome!!

I’m energetic, happy, and moving. I couldn’t wait to get up outta bed and start my day, especially since I woke up sweating.

This, during a cold September morning in Chicago, when things have already started slowing down.

Outside it’s 57F and dim, the rest of the home is around 72F and dark, while it’s the Sahara Desert at high noon in my room! Perfect.

This is an easy experiment to try out if you have seasonal affective disorder, or even if you don’t and want to perform better in the winter.

Light AND Heat.
I’ve never heard anyone mention that before. Experts always tell us to use more light in the winter, but that may be only half the solution.