12 Practical Tips to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
How to optimise your body clock for health
Your circadian rhythm, often called your internal body clock, plays a crucial role in governing various physiological processes, including your sleep-wake cycles, hormone production and overall health. It’s vital for maintaining a balanced and vibrant life.
If you missed our previous blog, “Does Your Circadian Rhythm Need Resetting?”, you can catch up here to learn what circadian rhythms are, how they function and the factors that can disrupt these internal rhythms.
In today’s fast-paced world, understanding and optimising your circadian rhythm is key to achieving peak performance, healthy ageing and overall well-being.
Here are 12 practical tips for aligning your diet and lifestyle with these internal clocks to slow down ageing, improve sleep and enable you to perform at your best.
12 ways to reset your circadian rhythm
Prioritising sleep and aiming for consistent sleep and wake times, even on weekends. 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep per night is ideal. Create a sleep-conducive environment by keeping your bedroom dark and cool. Black out curtains can be helpful if your bedroom is too light. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock.
Maximising exposure to natural light. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours, especially in the morning. Let natural light into your home or workspace during the day to reinforce your body’s awareness of the time.
Limiting exposure to artificial light at night. Minimise the use of electronic devices (smartphones, computers, TVs) with blue light emissions before bedtime. Use blue light filters on screens or wear blue light-blocking glasses in the evening.
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine. Establish calming pre-sleep rituals like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises. Sleep hygiene is essential. Ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and quiet, device-free and turn off the Wi-Fi if possible.
Maintaining a balanced, naturopathic diet rich in nutrients like magnesium (leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains), tryptophan (turkey, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds) and melatonin precursors (tart cherries, grapes) help support healthy sleep patterns.
Eating meals at regular times and avoiding heavy/ large meals close to bedtime can help align eating patterns with your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Cutting out caffeine and limiting alcohol intake (especially in the evening) as both of these lifestyle habits can negatively impact sleep. Caffeine can delay sleep onset, shorten sleep duration, fragment sleep and reduce sleep quality. While alcohol initially promotes sleep onset, it disrupts sleep continuity, reduces REM sleep and can lead to frequent nighttime awakenings. Both can hinder the body’s ability to relax and achieve restorative sleep.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating. When done in alignment with circadian rhythms, intermittent fasting may help improve the synchronisation of your internal clocks and promote better sleep and metabolic health.
Staying active and engaging in physical activity during daylight hours helps regulate your body’s internal clocks and improve sleep quality. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime as it may energise you and hinder sleep. Peak performance tends to coincide with the body’s natural peak in core body temperature, muscle strength and cardiovascular function, which occurs in the late afternoon. This is why athletes often schedule their most intense training or competitive events during this time for optimal results.
Managing stress by addressing the issues causing the stress and implementing stress-reduction techniques such as exercise, deep breathing and getting out in nature. There are lots of natural remedies and herbs that can help with stress and anxiety such as Bach flowers, lavender essential oil, ashwagandha, passionflower and magnesium. Here’s how to relieve stress naturally.
Being mindful of shift work. If you work night shifts, consider strategies like bright light exposure during the shift and maintaining a consistent schedule on your days off to mitigate circadian disruption.
Seeking the help of a natural therapist. If you have persistent sleep problems or circadian rhythm disorders, consult with a naturopath, homeopath or herbalist who can advise on the best treatment protocol for you. Acupuncture is also highly effective for sleep issues and stress management.
Healthy body clock habits
Optimising your circadian rhythm for health is a gradual process that may require adjustments to your daily routines and habits. However, the benefits of a well-regulated circadian rhythm, including improved sleep quality and overall health, are well worth the effort. By prioritising consistency in your sleep patterns and adopting healthy lifestyle practices, you can better synchronise your internal clock and enhance your overall well-being.