Seg 1: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things (Circadian Rhythm Reset)
Summertime comes with travel, late nights, atypical eating patterns, broken diets, more than just a few patio drinks, and generally an irregular routine. All of these things throw off your circadian rhythm.
Very brief biology lesson on “Desynchronosis“. It starts in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus in your brain. More specifically, a cluster of about 20,000 that sit above the optic chiasm.
Here are 5 tips on how you can optimize your circadian rhythm and get into the swing of things for the new new year.
Circadian factors influence appetite, nutrient absorption, and metabolism. Disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms may increase vulnerability to digestive disorders, including reflux, irritable bowel issues, and constipation. Your circadian rhythm loves it when you have poo-phoria (stimulation of your vagus nerve upon defecation) first thing after breakfast.
Eating stimulates our bodies to move out whatever you have in your system to make room for what’s incoming. Another reason why bowel movements occur after eating is to avoid bacterial imbalance in your intestines. If your bowel movement aren’t regularly happening after you eat breakfast, try some pre and probiotics before bedtime. You should be “good to go” by morning.
The best time to exercise is within an hour after having your breakfast. Apart from serotonin and melatonin, the circadian rhythm also controls cortisol levels, which is highest in the morning. Cortisol is a hormone that can aid in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Exercise helps to burn excess cortisol.
Sleep hygiene is what you need to do to keep a healthy amount and optimal quality of sleep. Doing this optimizes your circadian rhythm. It consists of:
— going to bed at the same time every night to achieve about 8 hours restful sleep (set your phone alarm 1 hour prior to bed time to alert you to turn it off along with all other electronics and keep the lights on low to prep your brain for a surge of melatonin)
— Keeping the bedroom at 68-70 degrees
— Comfortable pillow & mattress (change every 10 years max)
— If you’re easily woken, keep white noise on to drown out random noises
Also, during your new routine over the next few weeks you may feel like taking a nap. The best time to nap so as not to upset your circadian is in the mid-afternoon, but for no longer than 20 minutes. This short nap is sometimes referred to as the ‘trucker’s nap’. After 20 minutes, you quickly enter into a deep phase of sleep, and to wake up abruptly from that descent will make you groggy rob you of deep sleep at night.
Time to think about vit-D
Research has found that vitamin D regulates genes involved in the circadian rhythm. We don’t get enough of it in Canada north of 40° and often during the summer we get use sunblock. Back to school is the perfect time to restart your family on supplemental vit-D.
Dinner should be no later than 4 hours before sleep and ideally dinner is the smaller meal of the day. Eating too close to bed time will cause excitability along the Vegas nerve and cause circadian rhythm interruption.
Seg 2: Immune Healthy Snacks
As the next few weeks are spent back to school in closed quarter classrooms and as the fall months approach, the latest viral and bacterial infections are inevitably on the rise.
Here are some tips to boost the immune system by being sneaky with snacks
- AHCC rich immune activating mushroom brownies
- Gut-immune digestive support yogurt (Therapeutic levels of Probiotics added)
- Immune modulating seed butter between sliced apple (Added Sterols/Sterolins)
- Saffron & Curcumin anti-inflammatory popcorn
- Vitamin C infused Jello
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