biological rhythms

How to Align Your Life with Your Body's Natural Biological Rhythms

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Your brain has two primary functions, the first is survival, the second is predictive optimization. The information you take in from the environment helps your brain update a master schedule of when to produce specific hormones, enzymes and neurochemicals. 

Sadly, our modern environments of artificial light, eating at all hours, and skimping sleep has created a permanent state of Circadian Rhythm Disruption. This temporal (time-based) deregulation is so severe that neurologically it shares similarities with a traumatic brain injury. [1]


Biological Clues and Cues

Your body has limited energy, and resources, so it has to prioritize what to do and when to do it. During the day we typically need to move, think and eat; so, the body prepares for these activities. At night we mainly lie still and sleep, so the body plans regenerative and cleansing functions. 

These energy optimization processes are finely tuned. Each of your organs has peak times of operation aligned to when the brain thinks it will be used the most. For example, your digestion (and all the juicy enzymes it needs) is most active during the middle of the day. While your liver (which mops up and excretes toxins) is more active in the morning before you wake up and eliminate the waste. 

But these adaptive optimizations rely on regular information updates to keep them operating efficiently. They are highly sensitive to change, in some ways they are too efficient, eagerly supporting any new routine you embark upon. For example, it only takes a few days to switch to a new time zone in a foreign country. 

This is why eating late at night is one of the worst cues you can give your biology. The need to digest at midnight is fed back to your brain via cells in your digestive system, and it will adjust your schedule accordingly. So, the next day you are not prepared for daytime eating, but geared up for another night time feast, consider that this reduces your ability to digest meals during the day, and makes you hungry at night.

Changing sleep patterns is another disruptive signal that the body tries to adjust to. We experience an excess of artificial light, blue-light emitting screens and devices, and often stay up late beyond the hormonal cues to sleep (which correlate to cortisol dropping at about 10am, or 2am if you miss the first drop!). Living in a permanent state of neurological jet-lag wears out the brain and our entire biology.


Controlling Your Clocks

Daylight is one of the primary ways to tune your biology, but it’s not the only one. The combination of eating patterns, stress levels, social activities, and body temperature all place input to the alignment of our cellular and cerebral clocks.  The routines we create with our daily habits and activities create a coordinating force. Essentially, we are responsible for telling the body what time it is!

Eating, exercising, waking, socializing, and relaxing at specific times of the day, in habitual patterns, are the major time controllers that your body will adapt to. But how many of us have schedules that consider this? 

Circadian disruption is becoming recognized as a major factor in problems with our mental and neurological health – Alzheimer’s, depression, and even schizophrenia are all associated with this misalignment with our natural rhythms. [2]

The factors we consciously control (when we wake, eat, move, and sleep) influence the subconscious coordination of our digestion, metabolism, immune system, and hormone production. This is why dysregulated biological rhythms are associated with a myriad of metabolic, endocrine, reproductive, and immune problems, including an increased risk of cancer and other lifestyle diseases. [3] 

We are so entrenched in the disruption many of the symptoms have been normalized, how many of these are regular occurrences for you?

  • Experience ongoing challenges with falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.
  • Feel tired or exhausted even after a full night's sleep.
  • Struggle with daytime sleepiness or shift work-related drowsiness.
  • Notice decreased productivity or performance due to fatigue.
  • Have trouble concentrating, feeling alert, or coordinating physical movements.
  • Find it harder to regulate your emotions or make decisions.
  • Experience irregular headaches, aches, or other physical discomforts.
  • Encounter digestive issues or stomach problems.

More than 40% of your genes rely on regular patterns of activity, movement, sleep, and nutrition to optimize them. How would your life look if you were operating 40% more efficiently, or had nearly double the energy?

Here is a sample of the processes that require chrono-coordination:

  • Detoxification enzymes that help eliminate harmful free radicals.
  • The oxidative defenses of red blood cells.
  • Breaking down and releasing free fatty acids from white fat cells.
  • Endocrine control of energy production and conversion.
  • Regulation of metabolic processes and immune response.
  • Thermoregulated fat breakdown to generate heat in brown fat cells.
  • Serum glucose levels, uptake of free fatty acids, and clearance of lipids.
  • Insulin and glucagon levels follow a circadian rhythm independent of feeding.
  • The pancreas has its own functional circadian clock that regulates insulin secretion.
  • Gut bacteria exhibit rhythms of abundance and decline in the gut.
  • Digestive activity and nutrient absorption.
  • Renewal of skin and gut epithelial cells.
  • Serum calcium levels and bone formation.
  • Metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids
  • The production of bile and liver enzymes.

This is why getting yourself aligned to your own regular biological rhythm has so many benefits. Within reason, you can dictate the pattern yourself - exercising after eating at midnight is not a great idea but other than that you can decide when things happen, consistency is key.


Benefits of Biological Optimization

If you master your daily schedule and align to something YOU can stick to, here are some of the incredible benefits you can expect:

  • Restorative and refreshing sleep on a consistent basis.
  • Produce digestive enzymes and bile in an optimal manner.
  • Experience rhythmic and regulated hormones, including ovulation.
  • Manage energy expenditure and production more effectively.
  • Boost detoxification and liver function.
  • Digest food and absorb nutrients more efficiently.
  • Reduce oxidative stress and increase blood oxygenation.
  • Enhance immune function and cellular rejuvenation.
  • Improve mental clarity and consolidate memory.
  • Support cellular cycling, including growth and repair.
  • Promote better heart function and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Lower stress levels and promote a more balanced mood.
  • Regulate glucose and maintain a balanced appetite.
  • Reduce the risk of DNA damage and cancer.
  • Use hormones at peak release times, such as upon waking up.
  • Maintain efficient thermoregulation of body temperature.

By optimizing your circadian rhythm, you can significantly increase the efficiency of your body. This, in turn, frees up energy for clear thinking, body repair, toxin removal, and peak performance. Establishing a regular rhythm that matches your routine helps your body and brain on so many levels. 

Does it make you want to plan your day, every day? 

When would you like to wake, eat, move, rest, and play?



[1] Yamakawa GR, Brady RD, Sun M, McDonald SJ, Shultz SR, Mychasiuk R. The interaction of the circadian and immune system: Desynchrony as a pathological outcome to traumatic brain injury. Neurobiol Sleep Circadian Rhythms. 2020;9:100058.

[2] Coogan AN, Schutova B, Husung S, Furczyk K, et al. 2013. The circadian system in Alzheimer's disease: disturbances, mechanisms, and opportunities. Biol Psychiatry 74: 333–9.

[3]  Sahar S, SassoneCorsi P. 2009. Metabolism and cancer: the circadian clock connection. Nat Rev Cancer 9: 886–96.

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