Many people I work with yearn for a more forgiving pace of life and want deeper sleep. If waking up early feels impossible, if you feel fatigued as you move through your days, if you carry excess weight, or are restless through the night, it may be a sign that you need to reset your internal clock.
Chronobiology is a new area of study regarding one’s circadian rhythms or our relationship to night and day cycles. The body has a 24-hour sleep cycle that is matched or mirrored to the light and dark cycles of a day. Although circadian rhythms were defined in the west by a scientist in 1954, this is wisdom known within Ayurveda for centuries.
The light-dark cycle or circadian rhythm directs the body on when one should digest food, how to prepare for sleep, and how to regulate every function in your body including blood pressure, metabolism, hormone production, body temperature, and cellular repair. Every one of these functions have a predictable pattern which is dependent on the light-dark circadian cycle.
The light and dark cycles of day and night are a compass for your body and its systems.
- When you eat is as important as what you eat.
- When you sleep is as important as how much sleep you get.
- When you exercise is as important as how much you exercise.
Your daily schedule or what you do and when you do it predicts your weight, stamina, mood, and quality of health.
A hundred years ago and beyond, people lived in harmony with their environment. Waking and sleeping were based on the rising and setting of the sun. What we ate was based on what was available in the current season. We are now more separated from nature, ignoring the very cycles our bodies are inherently connected to. Electricity gives us perpetual light, our homes shelter us from the elements allowing us to have consistent temperature in our homes no matter what the time of year, and we can eat food from anywhere in the world during any season.
These changes in how we live have created great advancement and convenience yet they also come with a high cost of being divorced from the natural world.
The clock in your brain tries to set a total body rhythm. While the cells in your body react to your behavior when you wake, eat your meals, and go to sleep. When the brain’s clock and cell’s clocks are out of alignment you get distorted cell behavior and function. This causes disruption in your digestive process, hormone production, immune response, and inflammatory markers.
The body attempts to synchronize its systems into a single master rhythm. It prefers to use the light-dark cycle though it will also use your behaviors. Your body and mind function best with predictable rhythms.
Setting healthy rhythms and routines in sync with circadian rhythms is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Generalized fatigue, weight gain, poor sleep, and hormone imbalance can all be traced to being out of sync with circadian rhythms. Timing is everything when it comes to good digestion, restful sleep, ideal fitness, and good pranic flow that promotes optimal health.
To align with the circadian rhythms and promote optimal health incorporate these Ayurvedic recommendations into your life to live in greater balance.
- Wake up before 6am or with the rising sun.
- Exercise before 10am.
- Eat your meals at the same time each day; with lunch being your largest meal.
- Turn down lights and minimize the use of screens after the sun has sun.
- Eat your dinner 3 hours prior to bedtime.
- Be in bed by 10 pm.
If you would like to learn how to adjust your rhythms and routines for optimal health consider an Ayurvedic or Wellness consultation. I would love to guide you step-by-step through establishing healthy routines and rituals that will allow you to live in balance with renewed energy.