Chasing the Sun is a readable and frequently fascinating guide to the benefits of sunlight. You’re probably familiar with the panic about how technology is ruining our sleep patterns. All that unfiltered blue light emitted from your phone late at night disrupts your body’s internal clock, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime and consequently making it harder to sleep... I write this in a gloomy office at 4pm. It’s already twilight. Geddes’s lovely book will fill you with longing for bright summer days, blue skies and a baking hot sun dispensing vitamin D and happiness to all who bask in its glow. Roll on, summer!
In her entertaining and persuasive account, the science journalist Linda Geddes explores the ways in which the disrupted circadian rhythms of modern life expose us to a raised risk of disorders, from insomnia to cancer and Alzheimer’s, and suggests ways to improve our health by resetting our relationship with the sun.
This is a sparkling and illuminating study, one of those rare books that could genuinely improve your life... Her experiment is extreme, but it is relatively easy to stay off screens just before bedtime. Newer devices now offer “night” modes, which cut the most stimulating blue element in the light output. We could and should dim evening lights more generally, too. They make us produce the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin later than we would do naturally, which means it is still in our systems when we wake up. That groggy feeling in your head in the morning? That’s a “melatonin hangover”.