What Is Circadian Rhythm?
You’ve heard of circadian rhythm. There are commercials out there selling drugs to help you regulate your circadian rhythm because there’s a pharmaceutical “answer” to every “problem” humans face. Those drugs have weird side effects like leaky discharges from places we shall not mention that require another drug to counteract and now you’re caught in the web of Big Pharma… and you’re not even sure what circadian rhythm is. So what the hell is it? It’s just a clinical way to define your sleep/wake cycle.
Consistency in your sleep/wake cycle is one of the greatest levers you can pull to optimize every aspect of your life. For example, dialing in consistent bed times and wake times leads to your body getting more slow-wave sleep, where your body and brain do a majority of their healing from stress, which we all know is far greater in modern society than ever before. This healing happens in your restorative slow-wave sleep because the overwhelming majority of your growth hormone production occurs during this critical time. Optimizing your circadian rhythm involves much more than going to bed at the same time every night, though. In fact, your circadian rhythm and sleep quality have very little to do with actually going to bed aside from timing. Every damn thing you do from the time you wake up until the time your head hits the pillow affects your sleep/wake cycle. Sun exposure, workouts, diet, stress management, etc… all affect your sleep and if one is out of whack, that’s wack. Go to our sleep page to learn every primitive hack to counteract the modern world’s attempt to make you a tired, estrogen-laden, stressed out, sleepless robot that’s dependent on modern products to do what we can do naturally.
How to optimize your circadian rhythm:
- Get out of bed at the same time every single day, weekends included, preferably before sunrise. Sleeping in is for the weak, uninitiated sub-primal who went to bed late after a night of unfulfilling partying.
- Watch the sunrise. Full spectrum sunlight through your eyes signals your body to produce hormones that not only energize you, like dopamine, but also sets in motion hormone production later in the day that help you manage your internal clock and eventually prime you for bed. These include adenosine, melatonin, and serotonin.
- Get adequate struggle. Working out will allow for adequate exhaustion and prime you to sleep better, as long as you actually put the WORK in. Going through the motions without blood burning effort is unacceptable.
- Get midday sun. This enhances production of vitamin D, which is critical when it comes to regulation of several systems. When it comes to circadian rhythm, it helps to manage hormone balance.
- Watch the sunset. The low in the sky, red sunlight through the eyes signals the brain that it’s evening and will up production of serotonin, adenosine, and melatonin, especially if you have pulled the levers mentioned above.
- Stop consuming caffeine after 2 pm. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor that speeds the heart rate and an adenosine blocker that keeps you alert. This is great for the morning when managed properly, but consuming it late in the day will kill your sleep, even if you pull the rest of the levers. Afternoon espresso is for liberal arts students studying lesbian frog poetry.
- Stop eating at least 3 hours before bed to allow your blood concentration to shift from the digestive system to the brain to properly manage hormone production and release necessary for optimal sleep. That late night snack while you peruse the Tik Tok is killing your sleep (and the Tik Tok is killing your brain cells).
- Wear UVEX safety goggles to block blue light. Fire up the Himalayan salt lamps.
- Get black out shades.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, including weekends. No exceptions. Nothing good in life happens after 10pm anyway. A deviation from your schedule for a single night can disrupt your sleep patterns for several days, and for what? A night at the club? Bad television? Get your ass in bed.
- Don’t consume alcohol less than 3-4 hours before bed. Alcohol raises your heart rate and lowers your heart rate variability, leading to less than adequate restorative sleep phases, killing growth hormone production and leaving you feeling groggy and looking like a pile of ass in the morning.
- Turn off the noise. Your ancestors didn’t need television or music or “white noise” to go to sleep. You don’t either.
- Ditch the mattress and sleep on the floor (if you dare). This is a next level lever, but sleeping on the floor, especially if you’re grounded… guys… this will elevate your recovery in incredible ways.
- Meditate. Taking a few minutes in the evening to tune out the stress left over from the day is way better than mindlessly perusing the social media platforms and watching the perfectly curated images from someone else’s faux persona designed to make you feel inferior. Marinate on your wins. Meditate on gratitude. Whatever. Just tune the junk out for a few.
- Shut your mouth. You have 2 perfectly good nose holes to breathe through.