Welcome to this post: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm.
I’ve spent this past year getting curious about all of the things we can do in life to take care of our health – that are free. Don’t let the free part fool you; what I believe I’m uncovering is that not only are these practices free, but they move the needle (sans side effects) more than any drug, supplement, or “healing protocol”. I know, I know, this is a major 180 from what the main message is in centralized medicine, and even in functional medicine. There’s a push behind this message that in order to heal, you require these expensive doctor’s visits, supplements, wellness clinic appointments, and extensive protocols.
I do see uses and applications for a handful of adjuncts that are not free, and use them relentlessly also (blue light-blocking glasses – I wear Ra Optics, code FEELMOREGOODER for 10% off), sufficient mineralization, and specific plant compounds. However, I do not think they have a significant impact when the foundation of circadian health is not there. I truly treat them as a supplemental adjunct to my foundational lifestyle.
What is Your Circadian Rhythm?
Even though humans follow a clock that progresses from 12am, 12pm, onto 12am (you get it, you know how that works), our biology doesn’t work in accordance to the clock that humans made up. The human body, specifically the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain (sits above the hypothalamus), is in charge of taking in light and communicating accordingly to your physiology. Your endocrine system is greatly impacted by this relationship between light and the suprachiasmatic nucleus.
This rhythm of day in and day out of morning light, solar noon light (different than 12pm), and sunset, offers signals to our body about when it’s time to be alert, and when it’s time to rest and recoup. For example, morning sunrise light triggers a healthy cortisol response, and causes us to feel awake, alert, and focused. Conversely, descending levels of light as sunset passes (thus, an increasing absense of light) allows for melatonin production, and a decrease in cortisol, both of which are crucial for healthy sleep.
You’re reading: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm.
The Impact of Modern Lifestyle & Technology
If we were out camping 24/7 or living in nature, these patterns would be an inherent part of life, requiring little extra effort to stay synced up with the sun. However, the reality for many humans is that we have become out of sync. We wake up, we grab our phone, (which communicates to your body that it’s way later in the day that it is due to the brightness and light frequencies), and then we stay up late way past sunset, and struggle to consistently get deep, restorative sleep.
But, it’s not all bad news, at all. The answer is to get back to nature, as much as possible in your day. For many, it will be a giant change and concerted effort to change their habits in this way, for others it will be a giant relief and “excuse” to step away from our dependence on technology.
Ideal Circadian Day
Live outside without a phone. That’s the most ideal. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about something doable:
- Wake up and get morning sunlight in your eyes as early as possible. *If you wake up before the sunrise, wear blue light blocking glasses when looking at artificial light and screens. I keep mine on my bedstand to put on right when I wake up. If you wake up and the sun is already up, sweet! Go get some sun in your eyes. According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, 5-10 minutes of morning light is ideal; he says to do more if you have time.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. This helps take care of leptin signaling (healthy leptin signaling means taking care of excess weight your body is holding onto). It’s an aspect of eating for your circadian health. For more on this check out the work of Dr. Gabrielle Lyon and Sarah Kleiner Wellness.
- Take light breaks barefoot as much as possible throughout your day. Being barefoot in the sun helps you to absorb the free electrons that are present on the earth when sunlight hits it. Also, this helps us combat the negative effects of being inundated with non-native EMFs all day around technology. Dr. Jack Kruse puts out a ton of informative pieces on this topic. He talks about how the Ancient Egyptians were onto something with the Sphinx being onto something with being on all fours and facing the east (where the sun rises), as humans are the only being with substantial sweat glands on our hands and feet, as to make them ideal for electron conductivity with the earth. It’s really cool stuff.
- Get outside for solar noon. Solar noon is different than 12pm on the clock. It’s the time where the sun is directly overhead, relative to your exact location on earth. I recommend using the free app called D-Minder to help you find the exact time this is where you are.
- Watch as many sunsets as you can. This is another set point during the day that communicates light information to your eyes/brain, and will elicit the appropriate hormone production for you to wind down.
- Wear blue-light blocking glasses after sunset. This is habit that I’ve been doing consistenly for a few months and I truly have never slept better. All of these habits seem to be adding up to a truly healthy feeling that didn’t come from a pill in a bottle – rather it’s due to how I live and changing habits to get me closer to. I use Ra Optics because of how effective they are. Ra Optics glasses block out all blue and the majority of green light frequencies, up to 550 nanometers, as these are the most energetic parts emitted from modern lighting, and these frequencies have the most substantial impact on our sleep cycle, melatonin level, and sleep quality. You can use my code FEELMOREGOODER for 10% off your new pair. Another brand I’ve been trying out for Daytime computer/screen use is called Gunnar; I have their Tallac & Vertex styles.
- Dim the lights after sunset. We have been opting to use candles (I’ve been using beeswax) and a portable red light device. I use the Koze Red Light Device and it’s excellent – use code FEELMOREGOODER for 10% off. You can also make a fire, as fire gives off mostly red/infrared light, which does not disrupt sleep like the more stimulating (blue and green) frequencies do.
- WIFI off while you sleep. Simple. Do it. Elevate your sleep + health.
You’re reading: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm.
The Role of the Sun
As I discuss in my deep dive sun blog post, the sun is the reason that life on earth is sustained. It is the initiator to photosynthesis (growth in plants), and mitosis (healthy cell growth in humans). There is a remembering that needs to take place when we start thinking about the role of nature in our health. Mainstream messaging around SPF, sunblock, fearing the sun, etc. is so frequent and pervasive and so many humans have forgotten that we need the sun. It’s not something to run from. The more I have personally prioritized intentional, harmonized sun exposure, the healthier I have felt.
Daytime Production of Melatonin
Most think of melatonin as the endogenous (originates within you) hormone that induces sleep. However, melatonin does far more and is involved in your daytime life more than you think. While there is a presence of melatonin in the blood, there is also a daytime production of melatonin in the mitochondria of your cells; and sunlight is the very thing that triggers this production. In other words, the sunlight that you encounter during the day is helping build your melatonin reserves. Along with aiding restful sleep (which is key for health), melatonin plays a crucial role in detoxification and hormonal health.
You’re reading: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm.
Eyes, The Brain, Top-Down Communication
Light into the eyes, ideally at sunrise, triggers a top-down hormonal cascade. In other words, the light tells the brain to create pregnenolone, which is a precursor to hormones like cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Thus, light exposure impacts energy levels, fertility, hormonal health, and truly every other system in your body. In my opinion, it’s such an unfortunately overlooked part of wellness in centralized medicine.
Hormones are produced by the organs and glands in your anatomy, but the origin of that signal is in the brain. And, the brain is intelligent (not to sound redundant). But, it can be helpful distinction to understand that the eyes and brain are in a constant relationship to your surroundings, including your light environment.
Reset Your Circadian Rhythm: The Use of Sunglasses
As you might have gathered so far in the post, the eyes (a part of the brain) play a huge role in circadian health. They are communicating all throughout the day to your brain and body. When you understand that aspect of our biology and look at it though that lens, sunglasses start to make less sense. Sunglasses can be used where you absolutely need them (i.e. when you are driving and there’s a glare), but they are better off most of the time as a headband. I realize they are a fashion statement for many, but when you are intercepting the light into the eye on a daily basis, it’s influencing your natural rhythm,
Ways to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
-Get outside and move at sunrise
-Drive without sunglasses on (when there’s no glare) and open the sunroof
-Work near an open window (glass blocks UV)
-Suggest and plan your first meeting of the day outside
-Eat lunch outside like it’s your job
Routines for Better Sleep
Some simple habits that you can integrate to get better sleep include some practices that you might not have realized directly impact sleep. Try these things out to better your sleep: sunrise in eyes, get adequate daily sunlight, blue light blockers after sunset, and eating at least 2 hours before you go to sleep (melatonin production competes with leptin receptors).
Circadian Rhythm Matters: More Resources on These Topics
Thank you for stopping by this post: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm.
Maybe you arrived at this blog post because you were searching the web for “circadian rhythm”, “sympathetic nervous system”, “suprachiasmatic nucleus”, “drink your coffee”, “rhythm how long does”, “what happens when circadian rhythms are disrupted”, “do blue light glasses actually work”, “are blue light glasses effective”, “stylish blue light glasses”, “what does blue light glasses do”, “benefits of blue light glasses”, “best blue light blocking glasses”, “huberman workout routine”, “andrew huberman supplements list”, “what are emfs”, “of whack”, “healthy lifestyle changes light therapy”, “circadian rhythm how long”, “infradian rhythm, “What is the fastest way to reset a circadian rhythm?”, or “Is there a way to fix your circadian rhythm?”.
No matter what brought you here, I very much appreciate your curiosity and support. I’ve been creating healthy living resources since 2012 and though this world continues to evolve, I’m stoked as ever to help others reconnect to nature and tap into their own innate capacity for feeling good.