Regulating your Circadian Rhythm: A Guide to Restful Sleep
A study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported that only 12% of Americans are considered “clinically healthy.” That’s 1 in every 8 people.
Why is this?
Issues like poor diet and infrequent exercise are becoming a commonality amongst our generation. All these things collectively throw off the body’s natural balance (known as homeostasis), and can lead to much more serious long term health conditions.
Interestingly enough, scientists recently found a major reason that most Americans are unhealthy - and it has nothing to do with their food choice or how much they exercise (or not drinking enough STRONG Coffee) (although that’s important, too.)
New research is finding that most Americans' health is being significantly affected by something that you might have never heard of - your body’s Circadian Rhythm.
What is Your Circadian Rhythm?
Your Circadian Rhythm is what biologists refer to as your body's internal clock. It’s essentially your brain’s master clock– regulating when you get hungry, sleepy, when to use the bathroom, & pretty much every other bodily function.
It’s what gives order to your bodies’ natural processes.
Although your body subconsciously regulates most of its natural processes, your lifestyle choices have a profound impact on your circadian rhythm.
Research is discovering that an abnormal circadian rhythm can lead to a plethora of health issues, such as insomnia, weight gain, low-energy levels, and even poor mental health.
Waking up late, eating before bed, and being exposed to light at the wrong times are all common habits that can throw off your circadian rhythm.
Luckily, there are many ways to set your body’s internal clock straight.
How to Start Regulating Your Circadian Rhythm
Solidify Your Sleep Schedule
One of the biggest factors that determines your circadian rhythm is your sleep schedule - so much so that new research found that a powerful way to restore your circadian rhythm is simply by waking up at the same time everyday.
By doing this, your body learns to adapt to the new rhythm of your sleep schedule.
While it's also good to make sure you fall asleep around the same time every night, waking up at the same time every morning proves to be the key to getting your sleep schedule down.
Be conscious of Your Meal Times
Along with your sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm also regulates your digestive system.
Research has shown that eating around the same times everyday can have a major impact on regulating your circadian rhythm.
Studies also show that eating right before bed can throw your circadian rhythm off - by telling your body that it's time to be awake while you’re eating.
Another study found that protein in the morning also has a powerful impact on your circadian rhythm. It was found that protein in particular is a natural signal to your body to be awake - which is why we added 15 grams of grass-fed collagen protein to our lattes.
Get Some Sun
I’ve mentioned the benefits of sunlight before, but one of the things I haven’t talked about is sunlight’s relationship to your circadian rhythm.
Research has found that your body responds to light and darkness. More specifically, studies found that one of the best ways to regulate your circadian rhythm is by getting out in the sun - specifically in the morning.
Getting some early morning sun is a signal to your body to be awake and alert and proves to be a great way to regulate your circadian rhythm.
Exercise at the Right Times
Research shows that exercise produces excess melatonin in the body, and can be a great aid for sleep. However, things start to get more complicated when you work out too close to your bedtime.
Studies found that exercising within 90 minutes of your bed time can stimulate your body and keep you awake - so it’s important to be conscious of your exercise schedule.
Limit Light Before Bed
Your bodies’ circadian rhythm is most sensitive to light around two hours before you fall asleep. Because of this, it's best to limit the amount of light you are exposed to at night time (this includes the light from your phone screen.)
Research found that being exposed to light around 90 minutes before your intended bed-time significantly harms your ability to naturally fall asleep. Because light is a powerful signal for your circadian rhythm, it’s crucial that you do your best to dim the lights and get off your phone as your bedtime approaches.
If You Read Anything, Read This…
One of the most beneficial things you can do for your body is help it stay in its natural state of homeostasis. Eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise, and poor sleep habits are all everyday practices that throw your body off its natural rhythm.
A great and easy way to help restore order to your body is through regulating your Circadian Rhythm. Committing yourself to being conscious of your meal times, getting some early morning sun, limiting light before bed, and exercising at the right time of day are all proven ways to regulate your body’s natural processes and leave you feeling as healthy as possible.
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