Many people may not be aware of our biological body clock. What happens when this clock is running late? Well, a lot can be out of balance, and we may not even understand why. Many physiological functions within our body are tied to the rise and fall of the sun, including the timing of crucial hormones, cellular functions and neurotransmitters.
If your body clock in running late, it affects:
Stress and energy Hormones
Arousal and Alertness
Sleep and body rejuvenation
Body cell detox
Mitochondrial function, which will affect our energy levels
Autophagy – the process for our body to detox when we sleep
Glymphatic systems – ability for our brain to detox at night
This body clock is called our Circadian Rhythm or sleep/wake cycle. Without correcting our Circadian Rhythm, everything else we try will not work as effectively, that’s how important it is to our health. This clock is regulated by getting light at specific times of the day. Our body clock controls when the major organ systems turn on and off each day.
When light hits specific cells in the eyes, they send an electrical signal to specific cells in the brain which regulates our body clock. This part of the brain is called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) and it’s located within the Hypothalamus.
When we are not getting light at the correct times of the day, it will over time, put our body clock out of rhythm. With modern life, we are spending too much time indoors, under poor quality of lights. In the evenings we are looking at computer screens, ipads screens and phones, which are emitting blue light. All this is disrupting our natural body clock cycles, knocking our circadian rhythm out of balance.
We need to be getting natural daylight, to get the full rainbow spectrum of the sun to fully energise our body, with different organs requiring different colours in the spectrum to function well. For instance, your kidneys need more red light, your heart more yellow, and your liver more green.
Night time body detox
At night time our body goes through a process called Autophagy. This is the repair and cleaning process where the body removes the dysfunctional cells from our daily activities and recycles parts of them towards cellular repair. Creating healthier cells so that our body can function more optimally. When our body does not go through this process, then we are living on damaged cells.
Meaning our body will not be functioning well and we are not as healthy as we could be. Over time it leads to poor body composition, ageing as well as increased risk of disease. As you can see, this is a very important process for our health. This happens when we are asleep.
If we are getting light at the incorrect times and eating too late at night time, it will disrupt the Autophagy process in our body. These are all Circadian Rhythm disrupters.
The human body is not designed to be living a 24-7 lifestyle many people live. We should be getting to bed before 10pm so that melatonin, growth hormones and testosterone levels should be high, which helps us sleep and the body to go through the repair and regenerate cycles at night time.
Identifiers that your Circadian Rhythm may be out:
Having problems falling asleep
Weight gain or not able to lose weight
Low energy levels
Depression, low mood
Anxiety or Anger
Weak immune system, frequent colds
How can you start to correct your Circadian Rhythm:
Bed earlier: It’s best to be going to bed before 10pm. It’s around 10pm that the different sleep and repair/regenerate hormones are secreted
Morning bright Light: Get bright light within 30 minutes of waking, as it switches off melatonin production, and signals serotonin to be released. It’s best to get sunlight. Ideally we should be getting out of bed between 6am to 7:30am and going outside. You can exercise, do breathing exercises or have your morning coffee outside. If you are not able to go outside, particularly in the winter, you can get a light that mimics daylight. Ensure the light is 10,000 lux and sit in front of it once out of bed. Start off with about 5 minutes and build upto 20-30 minutes. You can also use this throughout the day for 5-10 minutes for an energy boost, but no later than 4pm. Click here to read more about this lamp.
Sleep in a dark room: Ensure that your bedroom is completely dark. You should not be able to see your hand in front of your face. Get blackout curtains for your room.
Reduce blue light exposure: Blue light is emitted from TV screens, computers, phones, ipads, which mimics daylight. You can get blue light blocking glasses. Turn on night shift on your phone and computer for evening and night time if you need to use them.
Don’t eat before bed: Ideally we should not eat for 2-3 hours before bed. If we do it will disrupt the body detox while we sleep and disrupt our circadian rhythm.
Morning Exercise: Exercising in the morning is a great way to signal the body it is day time and to regulate your circadian rhythm. If you can get out and exercise within 30 minutes of getting up, even better.
I’m always happy to chat about how life can improve, so feel free to get in touch if you like.
A Healthy Mind, A Healthy Body, A Healthy Life!