Can your internal clock improve your health?

Ever felt disconnected or out of sync? Yep. You and me both. For way too long we’ve been battling against nature with our working lives and crap TV. Most of us can relate to how it feels to be living against a primitive, instinctual drive to sleep in the night and stay awake in the day. I’m talking about your Circadian Clock.

Each body, well actually, each cell in your body is governed by an internal clock. Each organ has a slightly different rhythm and the workings of these clocks and rhythms are essential to wellness.

Let’s delve a bit deeper… All lives on this planet evolved under a rotating Earth. So that means for 12 hours our ancestors and other living things had access to light and for another 12 hours they were in darkness. That changing environment put a tremendous pressure for them to come up with a timing mechanism so that they can anticipate when it’s going to be evening or when it’s going to be morning. That’s why almost every organism on this planet have this internal clock that help them anticipate time. 

Similarly, almost every part of our body has clocks that help us to anticipate when food is coming or when we are supposed to run (like from a tiger, not a tinder date), when we are supposed to take rest. So, what we are learning is almost every organ in our body has a clock and it helps this organ to be at peak performance at certain times of the day, and then to rest and rejuvenate at the other time of the day. What’s more even our gut bacteria have thier own circadian rhythm (I love those little guys).

Here comes in the Master Clock. This guy is goverened by light, specifically light in the blue spectrum and darkness. This should be simple enough for us humans to deal with, but in reality our modern lives f*ck this up royally.

We wake up in the morning, switch on the lights, get into the car / on the train and put our sunglasses on because the morning sun is so freaking bright. Then we start work in offices that are lit with strip lighting, go home along roads lighted by street lamps, put light our houses, watch TV and scroll on our phones. We are surrounded by light 24/7. We go to bed, turn off the light and then wonder why we can’t sleep.

The whole day we have been exposing ourselves to light (blue light especially from screens) and the time we need light the most, we block it out with sunglasses.

Battling against this internal intelligence is just plain stupid. Short term disruption to your circadian rhythm shows symptoms such as lack of focus, irritation, indigestion, consitpation, susceptibilty to infections or colds and blood glucose disregulation. Long term (coupled with poor diet and genetics), you’re looking at gut diseases, reproductive issues, chronic inflammation, depression, neurodegenerative diesases and the Big C. Not such a bundle of fun ey?

Sounds dismal but it doesnt have to be. So… how do you optimise your natural rhythm to feel like the best you?

Top of the list is getting a decent nights sleep. Try to;

Maintain a steady schedule, go to bed and get up at roughly the same time even on weekends (I know. Sorry.) . Even variations of more than 20 minutes can lead to a dysregulated circadian rhythm

Avoid naps whenever possible, as they reinforce wakefulness during the night hours.

Reserve your bed for sleep and sexy times. Take any other activity, eating, worrying, binge watching, to another room. This will help your brain to associate your bed with sleep rather than other activities.

Develop a shit-hot bedtime routine. Taking a warm bath, have a cup of herbal tea, read a book, put on Calm App soundtrack

When you wake up, WAKE UP. Resist the snooze button and make the most of that natural cortisol rise.

Next get the lights right;

Try to get at least 30 mins of sunlight in your eyes (This doesn’t mean looking directly at the sun. Don’t.) Aim for this to be first thing in the morning – put the Raybans down. (This is also how you fully optimise Vitamin D absorbtion too)

Use dim lighting in your house in the evening. Invest in lamps and candles

Get yourself a Lumie Clochttps://www.lumie.comk – you won’t EVER regret this purchase.

Keep screens out of your bedroom, including television, computers and phones. (You don’t need it for your alarm clock. Buy an alarm clock.)

Finally a few lifestyle tips;

Get your diet sorted (no brainer).

Time-restricted eating has shown FASCINATING effects on regulating your internal rhythms. For this, aim to eat all your meals in a 8-10hr period and give your digestive system a proper 12-14hr rest.*

Limit caffeine use to the morning.

Get plenty of exercise at the right time for YOU. Some people it’s morning, for others it’s 2pm. I highly doubt it’s 9pm (you’re kidding yourself if you think it is)

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – IT’S SUPER CLEVER AND THAT.

For years I personally battled with my natural rhythms, mainly for social joys (5am already?! Oops.) and because work-life told me when to do things. Since tuning into my Circadian Clock and taking charge of my own freaking life, I’ve never felt better.

J x

*Remember nutrition and eating is personal to you. Time-Restricted eating is brillant for some and doesn’t suit others. Find what suits you best.

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