Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness.
These rhythms are undeniably linked to weight because they affect our body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and hormones. During the "wake phase," we metabolize food faster to provide our body with energy. In the "sleep phase," our digestive tract slows down, body temperature drops and our mental alertness decreases.
If you pay attention to your body’s circadian rhythm you will definitely notice changes in your overall health and weight loss.
Here is a picture I found that gives you an idea of the different phases in our 24 hour clock:
So assuming you get up at like 6 am or so. Like the majority of us working stiffs… this is roughly how the cycle works….I actually get up around 7.
Our ‘clock’ starts ticking the second we wake up in the morning, and is directly affected by how well we slept the night before….circadian rhythms are produced by natural factors within our bodies as well as by signals received from the environment.
Light is the main cue, which turns on or off the genes that control our sleep-wake cycles, hormone release and other functions of our bodies
Sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates our appetite. So, if we lose sleep or wake prematurely, we may continue to feel hungry all day despite our food intake.
Studies have also shown that sleep loss increases our hunger and decreases our metabolism. Why do you think SP and everyone else in the world for that matter, wants us to get our full 8 hours of sleep??!!
Did you know that eating 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates within two hours of high-intensity exercise (either before or after) is essential to building energy stores for training? Waiting longer than two hours results in 50% less glycogen stored in our muscles and a less effective recovery.
Did you also know that we carry stress in our muscles? Of course you did…that’s why we all love going to have massages
However, if we stretch for about 10 minutes first thing in the morning, we actually help our weight loss efforts along…not to mention we get less tension headaches throughout the day. This is GREAT because stress impedes weight loss! (damn cortisol levels!)
Getting up early also helps burn those breakfast calories better than those of you who sleep in. It is essential to eat a breakfast high in lean proteins. This helps satiate your appetite. I for one have a protein high breakfast and find I can go til noon without getting famished!
By noon we really should have about 2-3 cups of water in our system. Water helps maintain healthy body weight by suppressing appetite, reducing the body's level of sodium and maintaining muscle tone. For our body to metabolize properly, we should drink half our body weight in ounces per day. Yup…you read that right…that means the heavier you are, the more water you should really be drinking…which means 8 cups won’t cut it for most.
So remember, assuming we get up at 6:00am, that means around 1 we should be eating our well balanced lunch, that we have PLANNED in advance…nudge, nudge, wink, wink…
By 3 or so make sure you are still drinking your water. If it’s hot out or you exercised at lunch you have to drink more water than you normally would.
So by 4:00 pm, we are all pretty much at our lowest energy levels. This is because our body temp drops.
This is our number one time to crave the crap! So this is when that sleep loss typically starts to interfere with our body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which leads to high levels of blood sugar. Excess blood sugar promotes overproduction of insulin, which can lead to body fat storage and insulin resistance.
That’s right Sparkers…this is why you crave those nasty a$$ carbs!! So what you really should be doing now, instead of indulging in those cravings, is SLEEP.
Yup…naps, not just for old people and babies anymore!! LOL !!!
20 minutes is really all you need.
If you can’t do that you should get outside into that sunlight. It will reset your body clock. If you REALLY need to eat, chew gum or grab an apple.
Around 5 is when our physical co-ordination, stamina and metabolic rate peak! So that means MOVE!!!! (cardio type stuff, like kickboxing )
Make sure to eat protein about a half an hour or so PRIOR to moving so you don’t starve. Green tea is great to drink here too. It’s an appetite suppressant ya know!!!
In the early evening, our core temperature is at its warmest, making our muscles and joints supple. Early evening workouts that target our endurance muscles, such as core training, hardcore yoga stretching, and step-interval workouts are best at this time.
Around 7 we start getting hungry, typically. Munch on a piece of fruit or drink green tea until you get to dinner.
If you are stressed out by your commute home or just had a fight with your boss, your cortisol levels increase.
Cortisol is what sends out that fight or flight message to our brains. If that level doesn’t go back to a ‘normal’ range, we will crave carbohydrates.
Cortisol releases sugar into our blood stream and we really should be physical to burn it off. But instead we actually succumb to cravings.
So when you get stressed, exercise!!! Oh and mediate too, it helps ‘balance’ you.
It may interest you to know, that omega 3’s help lower cortisol levels too.
I am actually fascinated with cortisol and could probably write a novel on it! Heheheehe.
Anyway…speaking of novel…this blog seems to be headed in that general direction!
By 9:00 pm you want to start winding down. Sip a cup of warm milk since the carbohydrate and insulin released make it easier for tryptophan to be absorbed into the brain, which makes you sleepy.
Our bodies start secreting melatonin which helps get us ready for the sleep cycle by causing drowsiness and lowering our body temp. Melatonin secretion is directly affected by LIGHT. That’s why it releases now…because sunlight is going away or has gone.
Being fully hydrated regulates the body's temperature and helps muscles contract, which, in turn, leads to a more productive work out the next day, not to mention a more restful night's sleep.
PS: If water or milk won't cut it, sip a glass of red wine in the evening instead of fattening bedtime snacks.
Since our body gears up to extract all the nutrients we took in during the day, eating food late at night and going to sleep forces the body to expend energy on digestion during sleep time, which is not at all good for dieting or for sleeping. This is a great time to brush your teeth, so you won’t be as tempted to munch and dirty those pearly whites before bed.
So if by 10 you are still up and still stressed, your cortisol levels will be high, which remember, makes you want to eat those bad carbs.
I say lock your fridge, put an alarm on it…do what you have to- avoid it like the plague!
This is when you need to settle down and RELAX for the night, take a bath if you have to. Don’t watch TV or sit at the computer. Your brain needs to decompress.
Think of kids, we read them a night time story, we don’t run around playing tag! The point is to calm down and get ready to sleep.
If it’s midnight and you are up….you shouldn’t be!!!
Decreased amounts of deep REM sleep can lead to increased food intake. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with depression, bipolar and seasonal affective disorder.
This is pretty much how all of our bodies function. So when you say you aren’t a morning person, chances are good you really are, you just don’t know how to nurture your body to make it work for you.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. CURVEYELVIESAYS inspired this one today! Thanks Curvey!
this might give you a better look at the cycle...