Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
September 15, 2020
September 15, 2020
Today’s version of a health-conscious lifestyle prioritizes two factors above all—food and exercise.
While they certainly have their place, a growing body of research suggests they may come second to another aspect of health—one we leave largely ignored.
Our circadian rhythm.
What Is The Circadian Rhythm And Why Is It Important?
Almost all organisms on earth display some sort of synchronization between their internal processes/behaviors and the environment. For humans, diurnal patterns of light and darkness (our light environment) are the most substantial cues for circadian entrainment and control…well, everything.
This includes sleep/wake cycles, metabolism, body temperature, immune function, cell division, brain health, etc. On the hierarchy of optimal health, our circadian rhythm is the most critical piece of the equation and actually controls other factors like food and exercise.
When we become desynchronized from our environment, our body loses its ability to initiate the correct processes and dysfunction follows. Unfortunately, in a world of artificial light, 24/7 entertainment and constant productivity, desynchronization has become the norm, leaving most disconnected from health.
No matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, chronic desynchronization will always manifest as fatigue and is a proven risk factor for any of the chronic diseases that are so prevalent in the modern world, including:
What Is The Solution?
Reset your circadian rhythm and implement simple lifestyle practices for continued alignment.
What Lifestyle Choices Make This Possible?
While the modern world does everything it can to disconnect us from nature and optimal circadian alignment, there are a number of strategies we can employ in order feel our best and fuel the full day. The best part—they’re simple and free!
Take a look at our 6 favorite tips for resetting and aligning your circadian rhythm:
1.) Rise with the sun and get outside.
The morning sun is critical for resetting your circadian rhythm and prioritizing daily exposure is a great way to reset and ensure continued alignment. The messaging received from the sun’s spectrum in the morning stimulates wakefulness, hormone production and sets you up for quality sleep later on. This translates into enhanced energy levels, better recovery and optimal health.
2.) Eat breakfast!
Consuming food within 30 minutes of waking and seeing the sunrise is an important message for circadian entrainment and metabolic function. In fact, a 2017 study (https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/40/11/1573.full.pdf) found that consumption of breakfast had a significant effect on normal oscillation and expression of clock and clock controlled genes within the body, resulting in:
Skipping breakfast, however, negatively effected oscillation and expression of clock and clock controlled genes, resulting in:
For optimal circadian alignment and energy levels, breakfast is a must!
3.) Get outside as much as possible throughout the day.
Every time you go outside, you are setting your circadian clock through signals from the natural light environment—this is critical for normal metabolic function, sustained energy levels, and high quality sleep. Expose your eyes/skin to natural light without sunglasses or sunscreen as these block a portion or all of the sun’s spectrum. Schedule breaks, set reminders and do it with others!
4.) Watch the sun set.
Just like watching the sun rise, the setting sun is an important signal for circadian alignment and prepares you for high quality, regenerative sleep. Take time to get outside and expose yourself to the natural light environment and don’t wait too long after the sun has set to go to bed—this can also disrupt your natural rhythm.
5.) Eliminate all artificial light after the sun has set.
In order to transition into rest and repair processes without interruption, turn off indoor lighting and keep all technology far, far away. Light from artificial sources like LEDs and technology peaks in the blue portion of the spectrum, mimicking the messaging of morning/midday. This increases wakefulness, stimulates cortisol and suppresses melatonin—a recipe for low quality sleep.
6.) Keep all light out of the bedroom.
The same receptors we have in our eyes for detecting light are present in our skin and even the tiniest bit of light can make a difference. The environment you sleep in should mimic what is occurring naturally—total darkness. Make this a priority for high quality sleep, optimal cellular recovery and enhanced energy levels.
Total cost for better health = $0
Takeaway: Building your lifestyle around natural circadian alignment is the most important choice you can make in your journey towards optimal health. Remember, making multiple big changes at once is rarely effective—choose just one strategy/change and make it the subject of your next self-experiment. _________________________________________________________________________