Circadian Rhythms: Number One Key to Natural Immunity
How would the idea of waking up with the sunrise, feeling fully refreshed and reinvigorated and ready to step into a new day sound? No high-pitched alarm clocks taunting you; no bright artificial lights or noises to jolt your senses as you start your morning? Just a seamless transition from rest to wakefulness. Sleep has served its purpose of giving rest to the body and allowing restoration and repair to occur on a cellular level, you wake up feeling recharged and ready to live life to the full.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, waking up naturally with the sunrise & going to sleep when the sun set below the horizon was considered normal. It was how we used to live on a day to day basis for many thousands of years during our evolution, long before the phenomenon of artificial lighting, alarm clocks and shift work. This, in essence, is what our bodies are most naturally attuned to, how they are designed to function and respond accordingly.
the natural rhythms of the body
A lot of the health complications we experience as humans in this modern world include insomnia, influenza, immune dysfunction, stress, high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances (diabetes and fertility problems), and susceptibility to respiratory viruses such as COVID-19. These can all be attributed to disharmony in our body as a direct result of our collective disconnection from nature and natural circadian cycles. For further evidence see this study from the
University of Southern California. Industry studies show that airline workers live on average 5 years less than their same demographic counterparts.
Secretions from the endocrine system, the internal system of glands that produce hormones responsible for regulating metabolism, growth and development, tissue repair, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood, among other things, are released in response to the natural light fluctuations that occur over a 24 hour period. Known as our circadian rhythm, our natural biological rhythm that is characterised by periods of being asleep and awake, dictated by light and dark, day and night.
One of the biggest disruptions of modern times to the body’s natural rhythms and cycles is shift work. The disruptive effects of shift work i.e. working at night and sleeping during the day, is well known as one of the leading factors in endocrine system dysfunction, with ample evidence to suggest that shift work increases the risk of certain chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) even classified night shift work as a potential carcinogen in 2007 due to the disruption it causes to the body’s circadian rhythms.
This clearly illustrates that we’re fundamentally designed to sleep at night and be awake during the day, though the human organism is very adaptable and some of us appear to cope quite well with shift work.
in the rhythm of the night
The pineal gland which is located deep within the centre of the brain, produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps maintain our circadian rhythms and regulate our reproductive hormones. The secretion of melatonin is lowest during the daylight hours and peaks during the darker periods of the day.
Exposure to light, both natural and artificial, inhibits the release of melatonin which can affect our ability to sleep. When sleep is disrupted, melatonin production may be adversely affected, which can further exacerbate sleep disturbances such as insomnia and wakefulness in some individuals.
To get our biological clock back in sync and ensure that our pineal and other endocrine glands as a whole are functioning optimally, it can help to limit our exposure to artificial light sources in the evenings, and reduce light pollution in bedrooms.
Blue light filter glasses and light blocker sleep masks are an excellent way to ensure that 100% of harmful light is not allowed to enter through our eyes during night time when artificial lights are abundant in and outside of the house.
Ideally, we need to implement strategies such as turning off all screens (computers, TV, tablets, cell phones etc.) by 9.30 pm and turning out the lights by 10-10.30 pm each night. Using
blue light blocking software on your laptop & computer is an effective way to minimize exposure to light waves that disrupt our ability to sleep well.
If there are issues with sleep, it is a good idea to reset our circadian clock by installing blackout curtains or blinds in bedrooms that shield against external light pollution and help support melatonin production.
In the next section we’ve highlighted some awesome hand-picked products that can help us make this transition into living in harmony with natural light cycles. We’ve managed to source some discounts for you as well and these will be supplied below.
Flowing in harmony with the cycles of life
When it comes to re-aligning our body’s natural biorhythms and cycles, we need look no further than nature to find the solutions to many of the problems and challenges of living in the modern world. Living in harmony with nature is what we’re fundamentally designed for so, it’s only natural that we seek healing and the answers to our problems from the Great Mother herself. After all, nature knows best!
It can be challenging to make changes in one’s life rhythm, especially given the demands of our attention are spread so wide. Enter
Circadian, a NZ-based start up dedicated to helping people transition to a healthy circadian lifestyle. The Circadian app has a host of useful features that allow users to synchronise their lifestyles with the natural light and dark cycles of the time zone they’re in.
In a world where a great deal of time is spent indoors, getting enough natural light is key. In particular, red light therapy has been shown to produce a wide range of natural health benefits, like inflammation and pain relief, fitness gains, muscle recovery, improved sleep, and many more.
Red and infrared light panels are excellent to have at home or at work and are particularly useful during winter months.
We hope this post has been helpful in offering practical and actionable ways to transition to a more natural healthy rhythm of living. If you find it has been beneficial for you, please feel free to
share with your friends and loved ones. Let us know how this works for you, we’d love to hear from you soon.