Episode 74 – Calibrating Your Biorhythm
Today I’m talking about biorhythms – how they affect our health and what you can do to make sure that yours is calibrated for success.
Michelle Rogers, ND, MSAOM, FDN-P
Over the past several years, I’ve created the most accessible, streamlined and effective virtual practice working with high-achieving women entrepreneurs, go-getters, and other badass women all over the world.
I intentionally blend my background of Functional, Naturopathic, and East Asian Medicine with my extensive experience in the online business world to help provide my clients with the personalized blueprint and strategy they need to get the mental focus, energy and business strategy required to share their gifts, better serve their clients and show up even more for the people they love.
Hey there, Michelle here with another episode for you, but first, I want to know… what did you think about that interview with Stephanie Matos? So good, right?
I’d love to know one takeaway you had from that interview, so send me a DM and let me know.
Now, being that it’s December, 2019 is right around the corner, which makes this the perfect time for some reflection and goal setting – speaking of goal setting, I have a little special something for you, so stay tuned til the end.
But, back to reflection, how has your body been feeling?
What are one or two areas of your health that you can focus on improving this coming year?
What has gotten in the way before that you can plan and prepare for ahead of time, so you actually overcome those obstacles, instead of buckle from the weight?
Just a little food for thought there, but today, I want to continue our conversation about the adrenal glands – if you missed it – I did a deep dive with the adrenals in episode 72, so be sure to listen to that episode after this one, if you haven’t already.
When it comes to our adrenal health, one of the main influencers is our circadian rhythm. This is our diurnal biorhythm – our sleep/wake cycle.
And with winter – and the shortest day of the year – fast approaching, it’s important to talk about how to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm even with the shorter days.
You may have heard of light boxes, or even this new tech I just recently learned about called Human Charger – more on these later, but the gist is that we need a certain amount of bright light exposure, particularly in the morning to help set this cycle – and actually help set your bedtime!
When light hits our eyes in the morning, it sends a signal to our brain that then tells our adrenals to produce cortisol – our main stress hormone, but also our waking hormone.
You can think of cortisol as the sun and melatonin – our sleepy hormone – as the moon.
So, in healthy individuals, we have a good spike of cortisol in the morning ideally within the first 30-60 min of waking, which helps our butts get out of bed!
This initial spike, then gradually decreases throughout the day, and when it’s at its lowest – usually between 9-11p (aka your ideal bedtime!) melatonin enters the picture to help us power down and get to sleep.
This rhythm – as with most biorhythms – is REALLY important, because if our cortisol is too high or too low, we end up with symptoms.
A lot of women I work with actually have this reversed curve, where their cortisol is low in the morning – aka hitting the snooze button 17 times, reliant on coffee, wishing they could sleep for just ONE. MORE. HOUR. – and then they also have elevated levels of cortisol at night – aka they can’t fall asleep, their mind is racing, they feel anxious…
The good thing is that you can fix this rhythm! BUT, to fix the rhythm, you have to fix the pattern.
Ideally, adults should be getting anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. As we age, these needs tend to decrease, but it’s still essential for healing to take place, because long-term health really depends on the regeneration that happens while we’re snoozing.
Growth hormone is the perfect example – this is known as the “anti-aging” hormone and it’s released while we sleep. This hormone signals the body to regenerate tissues, cleanse our liver, build muscle, break down fat stores and normalize our blood sugar.
Pretty important stuff.
And for those of you concerned about brain health and longevity – which if you’re not, you should be – it’s during sleep that free radicals and other inflammatory compounds are scavenged, mopped up and moved out of the brain.
When we don’t get enough sleep, we can obviously feel like our energy is in the tank, but it also results in decreased concentration, memory issues, lowered stress tolerance, mood imbalances, irritability, muscle tension and even makes us more prone to catching that bug that’s going around.
So, what do we do to help prevent these symptoms and make sure our body is in tip top shape?
Enter sleep hygiene habits.
I’ve already given away a big hint, and that was that an ideal bedtime is between 9-11p – and that means actually asleep by 11p – not just getting into bed at 11p – okay?
Now, I’m sure there’s at least one or two of you listening who are like… well, I’m a night-owl… that’s just when I get all my best work done, or that’s the only time I have to myself during the day, and I hear you…
BUT… you telling me that you’re a night-owl is just telling me that your circadian rhythm is screwed and you need to rebalance it ASAP. That boost of energy you feel post 11p – that second wind – is actually just called stress – it’s cortisol being dumped into your system, when it should be at its lowest.
Aka no bueno.
This second-wind let’s you get shit done, but it also keeps you from getting restorative sleep until about 2a, which means you’re missing out on quite a few hours of regeneration, detoxification and damage control of your brain.
If you’re already in the habit of going to bed after 11p, start going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night until you’re in that window – just do it gradually – and with the help of these other tips, you’ll be in a sweet early slumber in no time.
To start, establish a pre-sleep ritual. This includes getting off any screens at least an hour before bed. The ritual might look like stretching, having a sensual bath, meditation, whispering sweet gratitudes into your partner’s ear… whatever feels good and relaxes you works.
Speaking of that, be sure that you’re bedroom is a sanctuary – reserve the bed for sleep and sex ONLY – no watching TV or checking social media or ideally even reading in bed, because then our minds associate being active in bed. Not good.
Now, I’m an animal lover through and through, but if you have pets in bed, please kick them out. If they’re a dog, they’ve likely been outside, which means their bringing who knows what into bed with you, and if you have a kitty… they use litter boxes… must I say more.
Aside from the yuck factor – aka inflammatory factors that could be affecting your ability to breeze easy or get into deep restorative sleep – they can also cause audible disturbances, take up space and create a disconnect from your partner. That’s my opinion, but you do you.
Consider ear plugs and an eye mask, if you’re having trouble sleeping. To get the most out of your pineal gland’s melatonin production, it needs complete darkness.
Things to avoid before bed include alcohol for at least 4-6 hours – if you’re an evening wine drinker, then you’re probably familiar with that 3a wake up call – again, that’s your cortisol talking, because your blood sugar dropped too low.
Try not to exercise at least 4-6 hours before bed, this can also increase your cortisol levels too much, which can make it challenging to fall asleep.
Also, if you’re taking any supplements with B-vitamins, be sure you’re not taking them past 2p or so, because those can be very energizing and affect your sleep later on.
Alright, now for a little waking time hygiene.
If at all possible, try to make your waking time consistent, even on the weekends. This helps to reinforce your circadian rhythm. Then, when you wake up get light in your face – open windows, draw back curtains, use a light box or something like Human Charger.
When looking for a lightbox, get one that is full spectrum with at least 10,000 lux, and like I mentioned, Human Charger is new to me, I haven’t tried it yet, but I might gift it to myself for my birthday coming up.
My understanding is that you put these little ear buds into your ears for 12 minutes and they shine light on a certain light-receptive area of the brain that mimics morning sunlight – super awesome for those of us who have better things to do than sit in front of a light box for 30 minutes.
Alright, so maybe one of your 2019 goals will be to optimize your circadian rhythm – I hope that this was valuable to you!
- Your health is largely dependent on your circadian rhythm
- Growth hormone is released while you sleep and it’s super important for cellular and tissue regeneration, detoxification, weight management, brain health and so much more.
- Be asleep by 11p each night – being a night-owl is not a badge of honor
- Create a pre-sleep ritual and remove any sleep offenders
- Get bright light first thing in the morning
If you found this episode helpful, please share it with someone you love.
Also, I want to let you know that I’m opening up a small group program that starts January 1st. It’s a truly exceptional holistic weight loss program that actually RESETS your metabolism, and I’m actually going to do it right alongside you.
My goal is to create a nice intimate group for this first round, so I’ve limited enrollment to just 20 people total – both men and women are welcome, so if you have a partner that would like to join too, you two can sign up together. To learn more, you can head to wellthywoman.co/ymr for Your Metabolic Reset. I’ll also link to it in the show notes.
Otherwise, I’d really like to know what you thought about this episode, so hit me up on Instagram, send me a DM or take a screenshot of you listening and tag me @wellthywoman.co.
Otherwise, tune in next week for more awesome and actionable info!
Chat with you then!