how to optimize your circadian rhythm?
Aug 01, 2023 10:17 pm
Read time: 4.5 mins
Hi Friends! Welcome to the fourth email in the series on simple health tips. Today we're exploring how sunshine, vitamin d, and circadian rhythms all intersect to impact mood, risk of disease, and sleep. Next week we'll be chatting about cold exposure 🥶
there are a few announcements you won't want to miss at the bottom of this email!
First to define: What are circadian rhythms?
"Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark and affect most living things, including animals, plants, and microbes. Chronobiology is the study of circadian rhythms." - source
Want to support your circadian rhythm? It's extra difficult to regulate if you're living in Alaska like I am, but we can do our best with a few added steps! Our bodies naturally adhere to this biological clock through genetics so we can't change it, so it stands to reason that we should support it in the most "natural" way, right? Think about if you pulled an all nighter or were on night shift for a time - you don't typically feel your best after these disruptions in sleep. It's known that night shift workers have higher rates of depression and anxiety.
Here are the top four most simple tips:
- Get sky time upon waking before screen time (without sunglasses!!): not only does full-spectrum light that we can get from the sun (or a happy light in the winter) tell your cells that it's time to wake up and stop being sleepy, it helps you absorb vitamin D, and helps you to sleep better the following night. Just another reason to take those babies and kids outside first thing in the morning to help with bedtime struggles. If it's not a safe place to take a walk out your door, even just opening the window or standing on your front porch will give you the benefits. And you get the bonus of fresh air as well. The UV index is lower in the morning so skip the sunglasses and sunscreen for the most absorption. 🕶️
- Limit screen time before bed: this is basically the same as the first point but opposite. 😆 Blue light from screens can have a "wake up!" affect if used excessively late at night, and cause sleep disruptions. Pay attention to how much you're scrolling on your phone and if you must, then wear blue light blocking glasses. Get those sexy orange ones. Try experimenting on yourself and see what the optimal schedule is for you. This YouTube video from Matt D'Avella about whether or not you can change from a morning person to a night owl or vice versa was interesting and entertaining.
- Move your body: of course I have to talk about movement. Naturally your body craves movement during wake times (typically the day) and rest during sleep times (typically the night.) Research has shown that getting adequate movement during the day can help you sleep better at night, decrease your risk factors for disease, and help improve your well-being and mood. Click here to read the coolest study on how outside time, movement, and light dramatically impact disease and circadian rhythm. If you don't want to read it, but want to know the gist, here's a line from the study that sums up what I talk about all the time: "Physical exercise must be voluntary and fun, otherwise it is much less effective, if at all." Go move and have fun doing it, friends. 💛
- Sleep in a dark and cool room: get those blackout curtains (lots of parents are using these suction cup curtains for traveling!), use a sleep mask, white noise, a fan or cooling sheets, and cover any blue light-creating devices, even if it's just the alarm clock telling you the time. Think about what it would be like if you lived in a cave before we had electricity. Now replicate that. 😴 Maybe you even want to ground your bed, or sleep closer to the earth, but that's a discussion for another day.
What are your thoughts on these? Hit reply and tell me which of the four tips you resonated with most.
- If you are local to Alaska and have ever wanted to do a 1:1 in-person session with me, my books are open for August sessions. Now is the time to book because I am going to be doing more certifications and training trainers rather than doing private exercise sessions. There are no guarantees that after August I'll have more 1:1 sessions, so if you've been holding out, here's your sign to book!
- In October, I am running the Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist Certification at CrossFit Salty North in Wasilla. Kim Vopni the Vagina Coach and Laura Nance, Master Trainer, are both coming up to co-teach with me! It's a hybrid course, so you complete online modules in addition to the two practical days on the 14th & 15th from 9am-5pm. There are CEUs available, so if you're a trainer and want to set yourself apart and really understand the female pelvis, and know how to screen for incontinence, prolapse, diastasis, and be confident guiding clients through exercises, then click here to read more and register. I am happy to do payment plans up until September 1 - so just email me! It's advantageous to sign up now, because there are online modules you should complete before the training in October.
- I recently collaborated with The Foot Collective to do a series of interviews - where I'm the one being interviewed about how the feet and pelvis are so connected, and how a foot conversation is actually a whole body conversation. You can watch the first video here, and the second video here!
We'll be back next week for the fifth email in this series on simple health tips where we'll talk about cold exposure! Thanks so much for reading, I'll catch you next time.