Unit 7 Coxford Abbey Farm
Articles & Research
is no longer just for the elite,
the wealthy and the
last minute rush!
The most important factor for getting results that you didn’t know existed
Now, before I jump into this, I’d like to note that this is not a fad, this is not a secret, and this is not just a quick tip. This is something that already happens in your body, everyday, whether you want it or not, and this blog is about optimising your habitat to optimise your output.
It has an enormous impact on your body, and you have some say in exactly how well it works.
So the goal today is to teach you all about your CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
I know. It sounds like something you’d see on Tomb Raider… or maybe in a poetry class?
Well, we all (including the animals and plants that are reading this) use circadian rhythms to operate. Your circadian rhythm is a daily cycle of biological activity, monitored and up-kept by something called the surpachiasmatic necleus (SCN) that’s inside the hypothalamus a part of your brain), but if you want to keep things simple, just call it your circadian clock.
This circadian clock uses external cues, known as Zeitgebers, to keep your circadian rhythm synced and your biological activities going off like clockwork.
Your Circadian Rhythm includes every biological activity that repeats itself on a 24-hour cycle:
– Sleep-Wake Cycle
– Hormone Secretion
– Metabolic Rate
– Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
And many more
Something that people often underestimate when they start working out and start new diets is their hormones – or more correctly put; the endocrine system.
The endocrine system represents all the glands in the body and is responsible for hormonal production, secretion and management, which are used to control metabolism, growth & development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood, among other things.
When you go into a workout, your body is going to use various functions in order to create the desired output and it is the hormones that will decide just how effective this output will be – so I’m going to teach you about how staying on top of sleep, meal timing, sunlight exposure and Bluelight (artificial light) exposure can put you back in control of how well your body can regulate hormones.
So that’s already started my transition into the next topic. You’ve probably already heard me rant about the importance of sleep before, but now I’m going to explain to you WHY it is so important.
When you have a hard workout, your muscles get sore, right? Well that soreness is the damage you have done to the muscle to encourage it to become stronger, but in order for that growth to happen, you must allow the muscle fibers time to heal up and rebuild. The more you rest, the quicker they can recover – and what’s the best form of rest? Exactly!
Sleep also allows your body to recharge, have a break from the high metabolic stress it has been through in the day and absorb all the nutrients from your food to recharge ready for another day of hard work.
There are plenty more benefits of good sleep, but staying on topic I will just mention one more – all day, whether you are at work, cooking, looking after kids, talking, exercising or even watching TV, you are stuck in that very moment trying to figure out what will happen in the next. You become a problem solver and time manager. Your brain has to run through all these millions of ideas and thoughts all day long whilst still regulating your hormones and keeping your body working; the poor fella needs a break! Sleep is where this happens (that’s why your dreams are always so funky and unrealistic), you shut off your conscious brain and allow your unconscious brain to take over and express itself. This is why you can work so hard in the day and absorb so much information consistently every day – because it gets a good rest at night.
Tip for Sleep
Although you will always hear recommendations for sleep, there is no fixed time that works for everyone, but there are ways of making the most of every second you’re out of it. Allow your brain a 30 minute period before you sleep to unwind and get rid of all the last thoughts it has. Give yourself time with your eyes open, the lights off and nothing happening around you so you can focus on your breathing and bringing every thought in your brain to the front one at a time. Once it’s all out there, you will be left with some empty space to fill with your dreams.
Circadian rhythms play a big role in determining your sleep pattern; they control the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. The SCN (controller of Circadian Rhythms) is located just above the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain, meaning that the SCN receives all the information about incoming light. When there is less light—like at night—the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin so you get drowsy. When you expose yourself to light, your body suppresses the production of melatonin to keep you alert, when this light is blue (light bulbs, computer screens, etc) the suppression of melatonin is at its greatest. If that all made sense to you then you’ll be able to clearly see how Bluelight exposure can greatly affect the ability and quality of sleep.
Tip for Bluelight
If you really have to expose your eyes to Bluelight, get it all out of the way in the day and give yourself ideally 3 hours away from Bluelight before you go to bed. That means no late night television which also promotes excessive sitting and binge eating – is what’s going on in that screen really more important than the world around you and your health?
It could well just be me, but whenever there is a sun shining when I wake up and I have time to spend out in front of it, I’m happier, more peaceful and more focused into my training. Now that’s just my emotional connection with sunny weather, but the Sun holds a lot more power than just making me think happy thoughts. Sunlight has been proven (you can find research all over the internet) to increase absorption levels of nutrients, help your body regulate your metabolism, increase your alertness, increase the production of positive hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin and Endorphins, increase energy levels and prepare your body for sleep when it becomes dark.
I’ve just listed off a few of the proven benefits of Sunlight exposure and already you can see the massive difference that spending more time in the Sun can do to your body.
Tip for Sun
Assuming you live in England, you don’t get a lot of Sun whether you’re outside or not, meaning that you won’t be fully harnessing all these benefits. So make the most of every sunny day, give yourself time outside (regardless of how sunny it is) every day and when possible, exercise and eat in the great outdoors! The best tip that I decided to try out a long time ago and have never turned back on is sleeping in an environment where you will wake up to natural light. I personally have blinds covering my window and I leave these part open over night so that the light can come in at morning and I can wake up to day ahead with light shining in. I’m not saying this will definitely work for you but why would you not try something that could well improve every area of your health?
It’s pretty obvious, when you look into this stuff, how great of an affect it can have on you. If you’re always looking for ways to make little bonus changes to your health and help improve your body just a little quicker, you’d be a fool to turn away from the most powerful tool you have in your accolade! Use the tips above, test the effect they have on your health, happiness, focus, weight improvement, stress levels and sleep, and try implement a few of your own.
That’s it for this blog, a quick summary of the science behind circadian rhythm and how you can master it to greatly increase the results you get. Make sure you keep your eyes on the page for when part 2 comes out and we look into meal timing, heart rate variability, exercise timing and sedentary timing.
Until next time!