HOLISTIC NUTRITION: SHIFTING YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH + HEALING
YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
A lot of people in my life know that I'm a early bird. I'm one of those crazy people that can get up at five or five thirty, and be happy.
The short of it, I didn't have this sort for energy for a good seven to eight years, I lost my health, and I wasn't fulfilled. After I started to heal on a deeper level, so much zest for life followed with, as I took nothing for granted, and I savour (ed) every last minute. Quite simply I'm super grateful for life, energy, the opportunities before me, and the fact that I've come a long way since my Lyme diagnosis.
The long story, it's taken lots of practice, I wasn't always this way, not even close. Re-building, programming or healing your circadian rhythm takes time, patience and healing as a lot of it can be hormonal / mental / emotional and stress related.
For innumerable years, it was laborious for me to get out of bed at all. At times my hormones were so out of whack, that falling asleep before the clock hit 4am was unheard of, and rising before noon was the norm.I simply couldn't bring myself to wake up. It felt as if someone had strapped a backpack of bricks to my back, and then asked me to get out of bed. Every morning. There were times that I had to force myself out of bed, as life and duty called. Yet every bone and fibre within me, wanted to steep back into a slumber.
Having gone through many years of this, and on my road to healing, this changed. And not just because my body was getting stronger, I really made the conscious effort, as I truly wanted to embrace mornings, and start my day early because that's the natural rhythm of life. We still have prehistoric brains and bodies, and we aren't nocturnal beings, actually only 15% of the population are what they call a "Wolf Archetype" , which means they can handle staying up later, but that's a very small percentage of the population. So many people are burning the candle at both ends, their adrenals are taxed, nervous systems shot, staying up way later than they should as they are stimulated by phones, computers, TV's, and they are stressed to the max. We aren't build to withstand this sort of stimulation, we just weren't, so our bodies are starting to feel the ramifications of it all, most notably our sleep. Which is one of the pillars to optimal health, truly. It's something that I work on with my clients first thing, as if someone isn't sleeping, nothing else really matters. It's going to be very hard to heal on a deeper level. (Motherhood aside, as even though sleep deprivation kicks in, our bodies are historically able to cope with it as human have been giving birth forever, so even though Mother are t i r e d, this isn't forever, and the body is resilient). Most often than not it's lifestyle, environment, food choices, stimulation, stress, fear, distress, and bad habits that disrupt a circadian rhythm that doesn't like to be disrupted!
For me I bring it back to basics. The mornings signify life. They are so bright, fresh, and crisp, and I adore getting a head start on my day, as it's when I feel the most alert and creative. Some mornings require a little more effort, I'm not going to lie, I'm still 100% human, not part robot, but this was the learning curve that I was embarking on. Everything has its ebbs and flows, but I've definitely found my rhythm and my bodies natural sleep cycle. I also believe a lot of it is mental, as we need to feel purpose, desire, and drive to be able to get of bed, for without purpose and drive how are we to motivate ourselves on a daily basis (deeper topic, for another time!).
For so many years, Lyme Disease ruled my life on the road to healing my body, which is why I'm grateful for every second of my life and want to cherish more hours in the day. This is where /when my love affair with morning kicked in. I love life so much, and not in some cheesy + "unicorney" way (I'm still very grounded and self-aware), but I operate from a inner belief system that lives every moment in pure gratitude and love, no matter what comes my way, for even in darkness there is light, no mater what. I'm a eternal optimistic, who chooses to see light.
I want to stress: this isn't for everyone! You might be a "Wolf", but again very few people are, so this is a perfect time to really go inwards, really seek to find truth in how and where you're operating from. Our bodies are meant to be producing Melatonin (hormone) when it gets dark so we fall into slumber, and in the morning we produce Cortisol (hormone) so we jump out of bed with energy. If this isn't happening than we're off balance hormonally and energetically. Our bodies need those hours between 9pm and 5am, or 10pm and 6am, as at 2am we start to produce Cortisol, which yes, starts to wake you up physically. It's why if you're out and about at 2am, you get what's known as the "second wind". Also one last point, we do the most healing, repairing + rejuvenation from 10pm - 2am, so as you can see sleep, optimal sleep is Vital to everything, and if it's off, so are we.
If you do want to wake up earlier, I have a few tips THAT WILL LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR YOUR OPTIMAL SLEEP //
1.Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Obvious I know, but it's the simplest thing you can do. My sweet spot is between 9 and 9:30. If I'm getting up between 5 and 5:30, I will try to be asleep before 9:30, even before 9 if I can. My body thrives on 7.5-8 hours. The easiest way to find your 'sweet spot' is to play around. One day get 5 hours, the next 6 hours, the next 7, the next 8, 9 . . . It might take a week or so to play around, but it's worth it. Everyone has a sweet spot, but I would say anywhere between 7.5 to 9 hours, is key for optimal rest, and rejuvenation.
2.Set your alarm a few minutes early to make time for stillness, and don't snooze. This can be five minutes of deep breathing, setting an intention for the day, meditation, going over a gratitude list in your head. Whatever this is for you, make it a habit. When we awake for a purpose and give thanks, it makes things a whole lot easier. Also start small, don't jump from getting up at 8am, to 6am overnight, it will take a lot of time for your body to adjust, so be gentle with the process.
3.Prepare your breakfast the night before if you think or know you will be rushed. Make your smoothie before bed, chill over night oats or chia pudding in the fridge, juice, etc...Wake up knowing that you will nourish your body first thing. Most people find eating within an hour of waking optimal. Again this will vary for individuals. Mine is anywhere from an hour to two hours, as It depends on my day, and mood. The one thing I always do is leave a twelve to fourteen hour window of not eating at night. This helps repair my gut health, and allows my body time to reset optimally.
4. Journal before bed and write down five things you were grateful for that day. Going to sleep with these things on your brain, will allow you to wake up in a grateful and positive mood. You don't just sleep, to rest. Your body heals on all levels - physical, mental and emotional. This is prime time to nourish every part of your body and soul.
5. Switch off all electronics at least an hour before bed. This has become a complete epidemic, and one I don't always abide by, so I understand how hard it is. With TV's in bedrooms, the internet and social media ruling our waking hours, it's truly hard to shut off, and power down.
In the midst of this though, we could be harming our relationships, health, well-being, and work-life balance. My only ask, because I'm working on it too, is to be mindful of your use, and make a conscious effort to power down. It will be extremely difficult at first, but set a time when everything goes off (except for emergencies!). Evenings are meant for winding down, connecting, communicating, loving and replenishing and preparing for the new day. When we're constantly connected, this is where stress, and anxiety can start to breed and take over our lives.
What I do: I've now implemented Airplane mode around 7-8pm, and I don't switch it on again until I'm at my desk or a cafe starting my day / working. I leave it off for my morning workouts, and getting ready. It gives me a good media/mental detox as I do the same with my body on a physical plan.
6.Write down your to-do list and daily goals before bed. This will set you ahead of the game when you wake up. And bonus, if you're getting up 30 minutes to an hour earlier, think about how much more time you will have in the day to get things down. Wake up an hour earlier, to live an hour more.
I always write my list before bed, so I can de-clutter my head as much as possible. Because I have a lot going on up there (I'm a introverted, inward Scoprio who loves to think deeply, intensely, and I love solitude, so I have a lot of time with my thoughts!)
7. Create a morning ritual that gets your excited and energized.This could include a delicious cup of organic coffee or matcha tea, your pre-prepared and nourishing breakfast, journaling for fifteen minutes, some stretching, a good sweat, a hydrating skincare regime. Mine includes all of the above.
I truly believe that loving life begins with loving yourself, and nourishing yourself first and for most.
8. Keep it simple and don't stress. Life, sleep, day, night, minutes, hours, should be fun. We live in a stressful society and time. Create space for calmness, rejuvenation, love and nourishment. Maybe try something new every week, and if it doesn't work then don't force it. Allow your body to find its natural rhythm. If you do want to create a habit of getting up earlier, than it will take practice and work. Don't be hard on yourself, and let it flow naturally.
Try to go to bed ten to fifteen minutes earlier this week, and arise ten to fifteen minutes earlier. See how you feel by the end...It's not about being militant, it's about patience, time, grace and healing, as it's truly the only way to sustainable change and healing, which is what I'm all about.
No body is a like, so allow your body to find its sweet spot.
If you're looking to delve deeper into your body, mind and soul, while using nutrition, food as medicine, reprogramming your mindset, advisory into your true innate self, and to take your healing to the next level, I would love to be there for you, and look forward to connecting over a session.
If you're uncertain what I'm about, you can purchase my book here - which is the perfect first step in us working together.