Sure, you don’t make ticking sounds when you move, and getting up most mornings requires strong willpower and even stronger alarms but, nestled inside you is an internal clock responsible for the timing of your body’s functions — from digestion to hormone production to toxin removal. Regulating the scheduling of these functions is the circadian rhythm, which controls your body’s daily cycle.
This circadian rhythm gives your body natural cues on the best times to go to sleep and wake up. However, if you frequently engage in activities like sleeping in on weekends and working late hours, chances are, your body's clock has been disrupted.
But don't fret, your body can go back to its natural flow. To prove it, here are 4 ways to optimize your circadian rhythm:
1. Find your rhythm.
Not everyone has the same circadian rhythm. For some, night time marks their peak productive hours. While others make hay only when the sun shines — literally. These groupings refer to our chronotypes.
For those more active at night, their circadian rhythms allow for wakefulness at night. While early birds are more productive at night.
By matching your daily activities to your chronotypes, you will be optimizing your circadian rhythm.
2. Have The Right Lighting.
For an easy way to optimize your circadian rhythm — go outside.
Your internal clock relies on exposure to natural light to determine when it is day and night time. This helps to determine the appropriate signals to send the body. By morning light, your body knows to be awake and alert. While at night, without the glow of mobile phones and late-night TV to distract, the circadian rhythm directs the body to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible for giving the body restful sleep.
By going outside in the mornings, you’re helping to set your body clock to the right time for the day. While a decreased exposure to light at night helps to ease the body to sleep.
3. Eat on the clock
The time you eat is a big regulator for your circadian rhythm, so skipping meals or eating at odd hours are easy ways to throw it off. The body performs optimally when it knows to expect and digest foods at certain times. Where those times are synched to the circadian rhythm i.e eating the bulk of food early in the day when you are most active, you can enjoy health benefits like increased energy and weight loss.
4. Break a sweat
Looking for reason number 1002 to exercise? It’s also great for optimizing your circadian rhythm. Through exercise, you can cause a shift in your circadian rhythm by delaying or advancing it at will. Exercising early in the day can result in earlier bedtimes and wake-up times, while exercising later in the day produces inverse results.
To keep your body’s circadian rhythm going, however, all efforts to optimize it must be done routinely and consistently.