Meet your invisible clock: The circadian rhythm.
Every living organism on the planet has timed its daily metabolic processes to Earth’s 24-hour cycle. Our bodies’ physical and behavioural processes all respond to its natural rhythm. The cellular functions inside us, from body temperature to hormone production to brainwave activity, are all subject to its patterns.
So how can we make sure it’s all in sync?
But First: What is the Circadian Rhythm?
The circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that regulates bodily functions, including sleep. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm is responsible for coordinating everything from hormone release and body temperature to digestion and blood sugar levels. This internal clock is connected to the hypothalamus in the brain, known as the coordinating system that sends signals to the body to stimulate its daily processes.
Your Internal Body Clock
Did you know? We’re all born with a chronotype determined by genetics, including the (aptly named) CLOCK gene, which contributes to our circadian rhythm. From birth, we’re all hardwired with a body clock that leans towards being an early riser or late nighter. And even scientists say it’s hard to switch from one to another.
30% of the world’s population consider themselves night owls, 40% early birds, and the remaining 30% falling somewhere in between (also known as “hummingbirds” - yes, really). So, which one are you?
Stay up late and enjoy long lie ins
Feel more alert as the day goes on
Have the most energy in the early evening
Tend to be creative types
Often have high IQs
Early to bed, early to rise
Feel most alert in the morning
Tend to feel drowsy after lunchtime
Their punctuality is a personality trait
Often have a lower risk of health issues
5 Ways to Optimize Your Circadian Rhythm
Your internal clock is heavily influenced by your daily environment, and easily disrupted by changes like travel and moving through time zones, irregular work schedules or sleep patterns, pregnancy and exposure to light. But there are ways to keep things ticking over. Scroll to synchronize your circadian rhythm.
1. Set a regular sleep schedule
To help your body clock regulate, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. According to the World Health Organisation, most people need 7-8 hours of sleep every night. By keeping to a sleep schedule, your body’s processes will sync up, regulate hormone production and make it easier to achieve a deep, restorative sleep at night.
2. Dim the lights in the PM
Melatonin (the sleep hormone) is secreted by the body at night, which makes us feel tired as night falls. Exposure to bright light can suppress melatonin production, disturbing our sleep pattern and throwing off the natural body clock. Swap doom-scrolling for reading a book to avoid exposure to disruptive blue light before bed (and subsequent insomnia).
3. Take a gut supplement
Microbes in the gut produce 400x more melatonin than the pineal gland in the brain. When gut bacteria is balanced, the sleep-wake cycle stays in sync and allows melatonin secretion to start and stop at the right time for your body. Taking PREBIOTIC + PROBIOTIC ensures healthy gut bacteria stays in positive balance, supporting the circadian rhythm and whole-body health.
4. Get outside in natural light
In the mornings, make time to get outside for fresh air and natural light. Exposure to sunlight (even if there’s just a little peeking through clouds) stimulates hormone production in the body, particularly serotonin and cortisol, which are responsible for regulating the body’s stress response, metabolism and supporting a balanced mood.
5. Eat regularly (and not too late)
Eating at regular times optimizes your metabolism and keeps blood sugar levels stable, which avoids energy spikes and falls throughout the day. This keeps the circadian rhythm at the right pace for your body.
TNC Tip: Avoid eating too late before bed. The body slows its functions to prepare for sleep, including digestion, which can mean it takes longer for the body to digest a heavy meal late at night, affecting your sleep (and body clock).
Now you know a healthy gut can support the circadian rhythm, it’s time to see what PREBIOTIC + PROBIOTIC (our bestselling gut supplement) can do for your body in 24 hours.