You might have the urge to reset your body’s internal clock. It is possible that not getting enough sleep on weekends or not having a consistent sleep routine is draining your energy on weekdays. Maybe alterations in your working hours or jet lag have disturbed your regular sleeping patterns. Even the biannual time switch of one hour for daylight savings can be enough to make you feel unbalanced. Signs of a potential disruption in one’s natural circadian rhythm could be recurrent issues getting enough sleep and feeling sleepy during the day.
Regardless of what the underlying cause is, disturbances in the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle can leave one feeling exhausted and can lead to serious health issues. The good news? A circadian reset can help. Changing your internal clock involves adapting when your body wishes to hit the hay and rise up.
What is Circadian Rhythm?
A daily pattern of activity is seen among living organisms that recur every 24 hours, known as the circadian rhythm. The daily cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes in humans, often referred to as the body’s internal clock, is referred to as the circadian rhythm. The 24-hour-cycle that is present in one’s body serves to regulate when they should wake up, go to sleep, and eat meals. The standard meaning of the phrase ‘circadian rhythm’ is the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. The primary source of the body’s circadian rhythms is light and darkness.
Circadian Rhythm History
When was the cycle of biological activity based on the day-night cycle, known as the circadian rhythm, first identified?
Scientific accounts of rhythms related to day and night have existed since ancient times, dating back to the 4th century BC when mention was made of cycles involving the opening and closing of leaves.
Medical documents from China that have been around since the 13th century speak of rhythmical processes in people, and since then, there has been a plenty of studies on daily cycles and body clocks.
When Does Circadian Rhythm Develop?
The body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) is already there at birth but is not yet established, resulting in a new baby needing to eat frequently and waking up often during the night. This pattern of disrupted sleep no doubt leaves the parents – who have a much more consistent circadian rhythm – feeling exhausted and worn-out.
So, when do babies develop circadian rhythm? Despite variations among youngsters, by the age of 3 or 4 months, babies usually have established their natural body clock.
Moms and dads can help their babies get into a regular sleep pattern by providing them with a consistent structure, making sure they get enough outside time and plenty of sunshine, creating a soothing bedtime regime, and making sure the bedroom is dark when it’s time for sleep.
This is evident that the time of day that you have a natural inclination to be awake and asleep as a child is highly dependent on the person who is looking after you. But is circadian rhythm genetic? Genes can have an influence, and it is possible to possess a tendency towards rising early or having a larger need for sleep; however, for the majority of people, their circadian cycle can be transformed by making adjustments to their environment, e.g. getting more exposure to natural daylight and setting up consistent schedules for the morning and evening.
What Hormones Control Circadian Rhythm?
A variety of hormones are linked to the body’s daily cycle and slumber. The two main ones are melatonin and cortisol.
The darkness of the evening triggers the production of melatonin due to the decrease in blue light. The amount of melatonin produced also fluctuates in accordance with the seasons, with greater quantities being released during the wintertime.
Cortisol levels start off high in the morning and then diminish as the day progresses, allowing melatonin to take over and make us feel sleepy.
Cortisol is responsible for providing energy to help us wake up early and remain alert and lively throughout the day.
What is My Circadian Rhythm?
Our inner body timetables are not all alike, which implies we don’t all feel hunger or fatigue simultaneously. Some people are known as “morning people” because they keep a more rapid pace than the typical 24-hour cycle, while others take a bit longer and might be referred to as “night owls.” To understand the workings of your circadian rhythm, there are some simple steps you can take.
We have a traditional tendency to go to sleep and wake up with the rising and setting of the sun. During a period of time when there were no watches or other technology to override this pattern, individuals could find a natural pattern of sleeping that suited them.
In order to monitor your internal body clock, it is important to pay attention to your body’s signals without the distraction of too much outside noise.
Resetting your circadian rhythm won’t happen overnight, but doing things like waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, switching off blue light emitting devices a couple of hours before bedtime, curbing late-night snacking and establishing a calming bedtime routine will go a long way to allowing your body to show you it’s natural circadian rhythm.
Why is Your Circadian Rhythm Important?
There are a variety of things that can disturb the regularity of your internal body clock, ranging from shift work to jet lag. Even though a few nights of staying up late or indulging in snacks aren’t likely to have a lasting effect, consistently throwing off the cycle of your internal clock may have adverse consequences for your well-being.
Your mood can suffer, and an irregular circadian rhythm has been associated with obesity, diabetes, and a raised chance of cardiovascular illness.
Having your body’s internal clock in harmony can be very beneficial to you, most notably leading to a better night’s sleep, which is essential for better health.
When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of the circadian rhythm, the list of negatives would be nonexistent!
Why Should I Reset My Circadian Rhythm?
Throughout the period of time, losing alignment with your natural body clock can increase your vulnerability to Type 2 diabetes, being overweight, heart disease, and cancer. In the immediate future, you will wake up feeling sluggish and have a general feeling of drowsiness during the day. You will likely be more overwhelmed with stress and worry, and your ability to make decisions and pay attention will lessen. In essence, all aspects of your life that are meaningful to you will be affected.
Furthermore, being out of sync with your body’s natural rhythm of sleeping and waking makes it more difficult to drift off when necessary, making it tougher to get the sufficient amount of sleep that you need.
The amount of sleep that your body requires each night is established by your individual genetic makeup. The typical requirement for sleep is 8 hours and 10 minutes but can range from 44 minutes to 44 minutes above. Additionally, 13.5% of people might necessitate 9 hours or more for sleeping nightly. The RISE app eliminates the difficulty of determining the amount of rest you need. It takes into account your phone habits and special models developed from sleep studies to advise you on the ideal amount of rest you should be getting each night.
If you feel lethargic during the day, it could be more than just not following your body’s normal day/night rhythm. It is possible that you are not getting enough sleep and that you owe your body a significant amount of shut-eye.
The amount of sleep debt you have is the difference between the number of hours of rest your body requires and the amount of sleep you have actually gotten. We use the RISE app to track this over the last two weeks. Minimizing your lack of sleep assists in both emotional and physical well-being. Accumulating a large amount of sleep debt can lead to a decrease in one’s ability to concentrate, remember information, and act efficiently. Sleep debt influences circadian rhythm and vice versa.
How Do I Reset My Circadian Rhythm?
Try using these strategies to sync your body’s biological clock that is not functioning properly. RISE removes any difficulty from analyzing your circadian cycle by offering an uncomplicated method for keeping track of it.
- Shift your bedtime and wake time gradually: When shifting to a new bedtime and/or wake time, try moving toward your goal time in 15-to-30 minute increments. The body can adapt to gradual changes more easily than sudden shifts in your sleep routine.
- Shift your meal and exercise times: Food and exercise can influence the timing of your peripheral clocks. Be sure to shift meal and exercise times in the direction you’re trying to move your circadian rhythm to keep all of your body clocks aligned.
- Get bright light first thing: Bask in natural light for at least 10 minutes as soon as possible after waking up. Make it 30 minutes if it’s cloudy or if you’re sitting by a window. This way, your SCN will signal to your brain it’s daytime, suppress melatonin production, and reset your circadian rhythm for the day.
- Look into bright light therapy: Used to manage circadian rhythm disorders, bright light therapy gradually shifts sleeping patterns back into normal range. A sleep specialist might use a high-intensity lamp, but exposing your eyes to bright sunlight for a prescribed amount of time (usually 15-90 minutes) first thing in the morning is a good DIY option.
- Get natural light during the day: Aim to get outside for walks, exercise, or work by a window to get as much natural light during the day as possible. This may make you less sensitive to bright lights come evening.
- Make time to wind down at the end of the day: It’s much easier to reset your circadian clock if you give yourself time to relax and detach from the stress of the day. Whether you read a book, take a warm bath or shower, or meditate — adding a wind down period to your sleep routine can help you ease into sleep more quickly. With the RISE app, you can customize your evening wind-down period with your preferred relaxation techniques. In the app’s Energy tab, click “Evening Routine” to add it to your energy schedule.
- Try a melatonin supplement (as a last resort): Timing your light exposure to support your body’s natural melatonin production is far better than taking a supplement. But in certain circumstances — if you’re a shift worker struggling to get the sleep you need or a weary traveler trying to adjust to and function in a new time zone — taking a melatonin supplement may help you shift your sleep schedule. We recommend speaking with a licensed healthcare professional who can advise you on the right timing and dosage amount of melatonin.
Once you’ve changed your internal clock, it is important to practice good sleep habits in order to stay consistent. Good sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, encompasses the different practices that can assist you in getting to sleep when your natural body clock is telling you it is time to sleep. Here’s what to do:
- Stick to a regular wake time and bedtime: Your circadian rhythm thrives on consistency.
- Expose yourself to light (preferably sunlight) soon after waking: It will stop melatonin production, signaling to your body that the day has begun.
- Exercise regularly: Physical activity during the day can make it easier to get the sleep you need at night. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime or it’ll actually delay the timing of your circadian rhythm.
- Set cut-off times for consuming alcohol and caffeine: Consume them too close to bedtime, and you could find yourself wide awake when your body wants you to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night.
- Avoid or limit light exposure after dark: Dimming lights and avoiding blue light (or wearing blue-light-blocking glasses) in the 90 minutes before bedtime supports your body’s natural melatonin production.
- Keep a sleep-friendly bedroom: The ideal sleeping environment is cool, dark, and quiet. Use ear plugs, an eye mask, and blackout curtains or blinds. Avoid using bright artificial lights during the night, too. If you need to get up to use the bathroom, for example, use a night light.
The Best Circadian Rhythm Diet
The role of diet in maintaining the body’s internal clock is significant. It’s not only what you consume that matters, but also when you consume it.
Consuming processed items all the time could have harmful consequences on your weight, rest, vigor, and general well-being.
The ideal diet for promoting a healthful circadian rhythm is one that incorporates an array of nutritious fruits and vegetables, nutritious grains, fish, and lean proteins, all consumed within a period of 12 hours.
You should consume your last meal by 7pm, which is 12 hours after having your breakfast at 7am. It is essential that you don’t have food in your system while you rest, so your body can focus on mending and renewing cells.
How to Do Circadian Rhythm Fasting
Circadian Rhythm Fasting is also known as Intermittent Fasting. This strategy requires individuals to limit their meals to an 8-10 hour window, leaving them without food for 14-16 hours. This is typically done in the wee hours of the morning and usually implies that they miss out on their morning meal.
An illustration of Circadian Rhythm Fasting is having your inaugural meal at noon and completing your last one by 8 o’clock in the evening. You would not consume any food until noon the next day.
Studies have indicated that combining a nutritious diet with this kind of eating has been demonstrated to lead to weight loss and enhanced slumber. The healthiest way to approach food is by eating a nutritious and balanced meal, being aware of individual portion sizes, and making sure that you aren’t taking in more calories than you expend.
What Vitamins Help Circadian Rhythm?
Check out our Morning & Night Female Supplements, designed to give your body the vitamins and minerals to regulate its 24-hour cycle.