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“Light sets our body clock and almost all the functions in our body follow this clock”, with Amber Leong & Dr. William Seeds

Get Light — Light is so important! In my opinion, it is the third leg to the stool to a healthy life — you need light along with diet and exercise. Light sets our body clock and almost all the functions in our body follow this clock. It’s just so vitally important that we get […]

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Get Light — Light is so important! In my opinion, it is the third leg to the stool to a healthy life — you need light along with diet and exercise. Light sets our body clock and almost all the functions in our body follow this clock. It’s just so vitally important that we get enough light, at just the right time (in the morning), to stay healthy.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Amber Leong. Amber is the CEO and Co-Founder of Circadian Optics (www.CircadianOptics.com), the makers of light therapy lamps for users to help regulate Circadian Rhythm and get the light needed, right at a desk. Science tells us to get enough sleep, take vitamins, drink water and exercise. However, we need sunlight. Getting light at the right time improves mood, boosts energy and regulates sleep.


Thank you so much for joining us, Amber! What is your “back story?”

I grew up relatively poor in Malaysia. For a long time, we didn’t have indoor plumbing and had to use an outhouse. My family scrimped and saved to be able to send me to America to pursue my dream of studying here. My first job after graduation, I was earning barely above minimum wage. But I climbed and through working with a great group of people, landed a management level job at a snack food company. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of what I dared to dream; but life opened up another opportunity. I quit my job and jumped headlong into the trenches of being an entrepreneur. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most fulfilling. The lows are so low, but the highs are soaring. I’m now 4 years into my Circadian Optics adventure and still hanging on for dear life.

Please share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

Routines — For me, routines ground me. They help add structure to my day, and regardless of how the day goes, it’s manageable because I know exactly what I need to do to continue my workday.

Get Light — Light is so important! In my opinion, it is the third leg to the stool to a healthy life — you need light along with diet and exercise. Light sets our body clock and almost all the functions in our body follow this clock. It’s just so vitally important that we get enough light, at just the right time (in the morning), to stay healthy.

Get Darkness — This might be surprising, but getting less light at night is just as important as getting light in the morning. Over-exposure to light at night can interrupt your body clock and negatively affect sleep.

What is the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Early on in the business, we were packing out product in our unheated, 100-year old garage. We also happen to live in Minnesota where the winters get bitterly cold. Our fingers were getting numb from the hours spent day-after-day and it was affecting our ability to pack.

Electric heaters weren’t making a dent in the cold, and so we bought heavy-duty, industrial propane heaters to keep us warm. They were a welcome relief and we were able to work in relatively balmier temperatures.

But after a few hours, we started feeling faint-headed and tired. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, until we realized that the industrial heaters were giving off carbon monoxide and that we were all being poisoned. We still had orders to fill though, and so we turned the heaters off and kept on packing in the cold.

What was the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson did you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made was making the transition from a corporate mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset. They are such different worlds that there is the inevitable adjustment process that it takes to become an entrepreneur. To believe. To be all in. To fully embrace the role. For me, it was difficult to go from making presentations and strategy meetings to making monumental business decisions on a daily basis.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Circadian Optics light therapy lamps allow people to get the bright light they need. It’s so simple yet such a great need. We have designed lamps that are beautiful, something that people are happy to have on their desk. This alone makes people want to use them. We also make a product that just works and it’s so simple to use. All you need to do is turn the lamp on, and you are giving yourself therapy. That’s the beauty of our product. It’s simple, repeatable, and effective. Our mission is to put a light therapy lamp on every work desk.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Please share the back story on that person?

It would be my husband. He’s sacrificed so much, given so selflessly. This business wouldn’t have been possible without him — truly. He’s slept with me in the trenches, and jumped with me for joy.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would start a movement to bring light into people’s lives, whenever and wherever they need it.

We suffer from a chronic lack of light. We work inside dimly lit offices all day long. We are meant to spend our days in the sun, and from an evolutionary perspective this lack of light is absolutely terrible for us.

So, my movement is a movement for light. If we could all get the light we needed at the time we need it, we would all be happier, healthier people.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Loneliness, lows, joy, mission, love. The journey will be lonely, with unbelievable lows. Yet the joys are so joyful, and the mission too great to not do what you love.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health — Mental health is such an invisible disease, but the destruction that comes from it is tremendous. The destruction of relationships, the destruction of careers, the destruction of life itself. I’m so thankful that it’s no longer taboo to talk about mental health, and that there is increasing understanding about it. It’s just going to be such a help to all those who suffer from it.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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