What is circadian rhythm (CR) and how it works:
CR is our internal 24 hour clock that balances waking and sleeping cycles. Circadian comes from the Latin circa meaning “around” and diem meaning “day”.
As the sun rises- cortisol is high, as he sun goes down- cortisol is low and melatonin should be high. These hormones are just two hormones in your body but they are very important ones to have functioning and releasing properly. I like to think of these hormones as I think of the sun and the moon, a dance between the two. Cortisol is like the sun, should rise in the morning and lower at night- Melatonin is like the moon, should be low during the day and high in the evening.
Our CR is controlled/ can be manipulated by our environment. Our eating, lighting, exposure to radiation, exercise, stress, and many other lifestyle behaviors influence our circadian rhythm. This cycle places an important role in our internal metabolic processes.
Eating to optimize your bodies rhythm:
A lot of people ask me if I think intermittent fasting is good… In my opinion, it is beneficial to eat first thing in the morning and then slowly tamper off the food as the day goes on. Ideally, you would stop eating when the sun goes down. By eating in the morning, it signals your body that it is time to wake up- releasing cortisol.
Lighting and CR
When eyes receive light from the sun, the pineal gland's production of melatonin is inhibited and the hormones produced keep the human awake. When the eyes do not receive light, melatonin is produced in the pineal gland and the human becomes tired. This is why it is VERY important to go out in the morning light and be outside in the suns light as much as possible during the day. By being out in the sun, it is helping the body store melatonin that will be released later in the evening. Blue light, and most indoor lighting impacts the body by causing cortisol to release. The lights in your house make your body think it is the middle of the day!
To optimize this cycle-
Get outside first thing in the morning and look up at the sky! Good morning world- signaling to the body that it is morning and for the cortisol to release. One of my favorite products is the EMR Red light (code livingwild for discount) that I use also in the morning, I turn it on the brightest red and it is similar to the sunrise with the red infrared lighting. This also helps the hormones!
Eat a higher fat, nutrient dense breakfast! This helps regulate your blood sugar and will keep your hunger levels in check throughout the day without having a lot of crashes from the dips in blood sugar.
Be outside as much as possible during the day with natural lighting. Try to reduce your screen time and if you are on a screen, I suggest using protective eye wear (I love RA Optics) use code Livingwild for a discount or softwares on the devices. For the glasses, I wear the orange tint during the day and the red tint once the sun has went down. On your phone you can make the screen red tint:
For an IPhone .. Settings -> Accessibility -> Display & Text Size --> Color Filters -> On ->Color tint, then full intensity and full hue. Then turn the color filters off. Next, Go back to Accessibility -> down to the bottom to Accessibility Shortcut -> Then color filters. Now when you tap your home button 3 times (or your side button) your phone will alternate between the normal and then the red screen. I use the red screen all the time unless I am needing to really see a picture or something else.
On the computer you can get F.lux for the screen tinting.
Once the sun has went down, it is time to shut all technology down. Turn the wifi off, turn the screens off and relax your being. Turn off the lights and use optimal low lighting (candles, lanterns, Himalayan salt lamps, Edison bulbs, the EMR light on the lower setting). Avoid drinking alcohol or taking any supplements to help you sleep. These do not help regulate your hormones!
Reach out if you want more tips or coaching on optimizing your bodies natural rhythms.