The last, but certainly not least, tip for stress reduction and increased immune health is the Circadian Rhythm.
You may be forgiven for thinking it’s an 80’s pop band…but actually circadian rhythms are daily cycles / patterns that create your 24 hour body clock ⏰
The body clock is then synchronized with the ‘master clock’ in the brain. When properly aligned circadian rhythm plays an integral role in your overall wellbeing 💚
However, when your circadian rhythm is out of sync it can cause significant physical and mental health issues. These include poor sleep quality, poor digestion, unbalanced hormone release, fluctuating body temperature, mood swings, obesity, low energy levels, as well as, low immunity levels and difficulty managing daily stresses🤯
Although circadian rhythms vary from person to person an average rhythm may look something like the below.
Our circadian rhythm is affected by external factors such as artificial lighting, sleep disruption (jet lag, shift work), illness, excessive stimulants such as coffee / alcohol and lack of movement.
Great news is there are some really simple ways of maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm:
Rise & Shine – Try to wake up at a similar time each morning and expose your eyes to natural light. This light actively powers up the brain and reduces production of melatonin (sleep hormone)
Screen time – Try to limit exposure to bright artificial lights and lights from phones, ipads, TV’s etc a few hours before bed as it interferes with the melatonin production and disrupts your sleep
Sleep patterns – The ideal number of hours of sleep changes with age. Too much is often just as bad as too little! Try to stick to these approximate hours per day:
Under 1 – 16 / 20 hours
1 – 4 years – 11/12 hours
5-12 years – 10/11 hours
13-19 years – 9/10 hours
Adults – 7/9 hours
Movement – Daily exercise helps maintain a happy rhythm, even as little as 10 minutes aerobic exercise a day can significantly help. The best time to exercise is in the morning or late afternoon. Body temperature is higher in the afternoon so this can help your muscles when you are active. If you can do it outdoors then even better
Eating – Try eating at a similar time each day and avoid eating at least 2 hours before bed. Reduce caffeine intake after mid afternoon. Increase foods that are rich in melatonin for your evening meal / snack, such as nuts (particularly almonds and pistachios), salmon, sardines and eggs.
Gut health – Improved gut health has a direct impact on your circadian rhythm. See Tip 5 for more details on how to improve your gut health.
This post just a very tip of the iceberg on circadian rhythm. There are loads of great books about it but the one we particularly like is The Circadian code by Dr Satchin Panda 📚