We are designed to have 24-hour rhythms to our physiology and metabolism. Our bodies have an internal clock that we refer to as our circadian rhythm. This internal clock is influenced primarily by light exposure during the day and darkness during the night. Ideally, sunlight at sunrise “sets the clock” while darkness after sunset “winds the clock down.” We have a wake cycle, activated by light exposure, during the day and a sleep cycle, activated by darkness, at night. Many organs show daily changes in their function based on circadian influences. Genetic expression, which genes are turned on and which genes are turned off, is also directly influenced by circadian rhythms. In fact, thousands of genes change their expression according to circadian rhythms throughout the day and night.
Sunlight synchronizes all cells and organs in the body and influences cell energy production. During the day, of course, we need to be awake, energetic and active. In contrast, sunset and darkness initiates a sleep and repair cycle via the release of melatonin, so we rest and recover to allow repair processes to occur throughout our cells and organs.
This is how we are designed and there is no escaping it. We are meant to be awake and active from sunrise to sunset and to be recuperating and resting after sunset. In essence, we have a built-in schedule each day; there is a time to eat, a time to sleep, a time to digest, a time to repair, basically a prime time for everything. When we live in accordance with our internal rhythms we optimize health. Additionally, our circadian rhythms are set up so we hunt and gather our food during daylight allowing us to eat, if our food hunt was successful, each evening before dark. Of course, with our modern lifestyle and 24/7 workload, light exposure, computers, television, travel and constant access to food, it is unfortunately way too easy to disrupt our internal clocks. Too often we are eating when we should be fasting, awake when we should be sleeping, exposed to light when we should be releasing melatonin and winding down for the night. Our modern world with all the breakthroughs, benefits, and conveniences, can be damaging to our health in myriad ways.
Circadian rhythm disruption accelerates the aging process while circadian rhythm synchronization slows the aging process.
Our mission is to slow the deterioration in our health that occurs with aging so we can extend our healthspan, the number of years that we live in a healthy state, rather than struggling with disease and degenerative conditions.
The key is to feed, train, and rest our body as originally designed.
Our antiaging lifestyle, focusing on sleep, nutrition, movement and stress levels, can modulate the aging process. We strive to have a lifestyle that is congruent with our internal clocks to allow us to extend our healthspan.
Everything we do with our antiaging lifestyle is meant to restore harmony in our bodies so we can ignite our internal antiaging mechanisms, while simultaneously combating accelerated aging forces. Optimizing our antiaging mechanisms, such as stem cell activation, genetic expression, DNA repair, telomere activation, neurogenesis, autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis, requires that we restore this internal harmony with our circadian rhythms.
Our bodies are constantly adjusting to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is a healthy state preserved by incessant refinements of biochemical and physiologic pathways in response to external and internal stimuli.
I like to view homeostasis as our body’s ability to listen and immediately respond to what we do, think, eat, as well as how we act and react. As examples, if we perceive stress, real or imagined, our stress response is switched on. If we relax, meditate, or sleep, then our stress response is turned off and the relaxation response is activated. If we move or exercise, the body reacts positively and builds. If we are excessively sedentary, the body responds detrimentally and breaks down. When homeostasis is disrupted we have suboptimal function and accelerated aging.
Circadian desynchronization results in chronic stress leading to accelerated aging, muscle and bone loss, increased fat storage, cognitive impairment and immune dysfunction.
Remember, our circadian rhythm impacts our metabolism, physiology, energy level, mood and pace of aging.
So how do we live in balance with our circadian rhythm?
We must balance our:
Sleep and wake cycles.
Exercise and recovery periods.
Eating and fasting intervals.
Stress and relaxation.
Laugh, Love, Live in the moment
Quality sleep is imperative for physiologic stress reduction as well as brain and body repair. Cells repair, memories consolidate, and hormones balance while we sleep. Sleep deprivation, all too common with our hectic schedules, leads to rapid aging, cognitive decline, weight gain and muscle loss.
It is crucial to maintain a consistent sleep/wake cycle to optimize restorative sleep. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet environment. Protect against blue light emitting screens and phones in the evening by wearing blue light blocking glasses or utilizing blue light screen protection on your phones and computers. Blue light exposure decreases melatonin release disrupting sleep. We build collagen, repair DNA, release restorative hormones, and activate stem cells during high quality sleep: GO TO SLEEP TO WAKE UP YOUTHFUL!
INTERMITTENT FASTING/TIME RESTRICTED EATING
Restrict your eating window each day to 6 to 12 hours intervals with intermittent fasting. Our digestive tract, digestive processes, and metabolism are affected by circadian rhythms, so close the kitchen at night after dinner! Eating late at night strains organs involved in digestion forcing then to work when they are supposed to be repairing. Sometimes simply not eating after 8 pm, for example, can help with weight loss and digestive issues such as heartburn and irritable bowel symptoms. We have reviewed the tremendous antiaging benefits of intermittent fasting, such as autophagy, in previous blog posts, so remember: FAST, TO SLOW AGING!
Elicit the relaxation response with meditation, deep breathing techniques, walking, Tai Chi, yoga or whatever your preference. Chronic stress, with the resulting continuous release of destructive stress hormones, overwhelms homeostasis, impairs digestion, increases blood sugar levels and fat storage, while simultaneously breaking down muscle and bone. When we activate the relaxation response we decrease cortisol, lower inflammation, slow telomere loss, and halt this erosive impact of chronic stress on our health and pace of aging: RELAX, TO RESET YOUR HEALTH.
Focus our diet on real food sources such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, berries and vegetables. Avoid pastas, cakes, cookies, breads, candy, grains, corn syrup, soda, juices, processed oils and refined carbohydrates. Processed foods accelerate aging. Real foods slow aging: EAT CLEAN FOR HEALTH!
LAUGH, LOVE, LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Break the cycle of chronic stress by being present, mindful and by living your life with love and gratitude. We all have much to be thankful for. Enjoy your family, friends and pets each day. Share laughs and cherished memories with your loved ones: THE BEST ANTIAGING PRESENT IS BEING PRESENT!
HIIT, High-intensity interval training, alternating short bursts of activity with quick recovery periods, is a remarkable antiaging modality via several mechanisms including stimulating HGH (growth hormone) release, increasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), our brain fertilizer, and activating stem cells. HIIT is a time efficient exercise technique that optimizes brain and body health while avoiding the excessive stress of prolonged exercise sessions: EXERCISE TO OPTIMIZE.
Since fasting acts as an exercise mimic, we can accrue additional antiaging benefits when we exercise while fasting: TO REALLY OPTIMIZE, GO FAST WHILE FASTING!
STAY HEALTHY MY FRIENDS……….IT’S SIMPLE!
3 thoughts on “LIVING IN CIRCADIAN RHYTHM”
Great article. I love intermittent fasting.
Good article. Here’s something I’;ve been wondering for a long time — should we expand the amount of sleeping we do in the winter, and contract it in the summer?
Very informative and gets me back on track.