Your circadian rhythm is a natural 24-hour cycle of your daily cycles such as sleep and wakefulness, hunger, and digestion. Things like hormonal activity and other body functions. There are a number of ways an individual’s circadian clock can fall out of balance such as travel across different time zones, or changing jobs. Thankfully, there are different known strategies to set your circadian clock back onto a healthy schedule. One obvious tip is to wake up every day at the same time to create a new and stable rhythm. Other options involve using melatonin supplements to assist in falling asleep at your desired time or using caffeine as a temporary energy booster to push through that lull in the day where you seem to always feel drowsy.
Maximizing the benefits of sleep can lead to many health benefits. One of these benefits is an increase in one’s energy levels throughout the day. During the last stage of REM, the body undergoes processes to renew and repair itself. While the body renews and repairs itself, this last stage in REM also plays the greatest role in enhancing the body’s ability to produce ATP, which is the body’s energy molecule. Therefore, committing to a solid sleep routine will help you feel fresh and full of energy for each day.
We spoke to Nora Tobin, performance enhancement and executive coach, nutrition specialist, and CEO of Nora’s Naturals coffee, to discuss how balancing your circadian rhythm can help maximize the benefits that sleep can bring in the form of enhanced energy levels throughout the day. Keep reading for more!
Five Top Strategies to Improve Deep Sleep and Reset Circadian Rhythm
1) Legs Up the Wall
Lying for 5 – 10 minutes with legs up the wall will reset circadian rhythm and improve the body’s ability to drop into deep REM sleep (reparative/clears brain plaque). Simply lie with legs resting on the wall with feet above hips taking deep breaths.
2) Change Temperatures
Alternating between hot water and cold in the shower (20 seconds hot, 10 cold) for two minutes before bed will greatly improve the body’s natural ability to regulate its own production of melatonin.
3) Increase Minerals
Magnesium is easily depleted in a state of prolonged heightened stress. This mineral is a precursor to the neurotransmitter Gaba, which aids in the repair process during sleep. Gaba turns on Theta brain waves, facilitating deep levels of relaxation, healing, and rejuvenation. In order to up the levels of magnesium before bed, try Calm. It also comes in travel-size packets. All of these practices (legs up the wall, temperature changes, and minerals) help the body shift into a parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and out of flight or fight mode.
During sleep, cerebral spinal fluid runs through the brain to clear toxins and create new neural connections crucial for retaining information and slowing down aging. This process is called lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system primarily works during sleep, so in order to successfully create new cerebral pathways and clear waste products, it is essential to get at least 6 hours of sleep.
4) Use a Sleep Tonic:
Sometimes our bodies need a little bit more help adapting to stress and change, and we can use food and herbs as a powerful way to help get the rest we need. Here is Nora’s Natural Sleep Tonic Recipe.
1 cup hot water
Half lemon squeezed
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp raw honey
5) Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs have been utilized for thousands of years in South America and India. These types of roots and herbs from the earth help the body adapt to stress while supporting its natural hormone balance.
One herb that can play a significant role in sleep patterns is ashwagandha. The Indian Journal of Physiological Medicine reports that participants who took ashwagandha for 60 days lowered their cortisol (stress hormone) by 30%. You can take it in the morning with coffee, as well as in the evening with tea. Since it is not a stimulant, there is no downside as to when you take itit. The herb works throughout the day or night to support adrenals and balance blood sugar.
Another great option is reishi. It is a herb that is in mushrooms. In addition to the positive sleep effects, reishi can help detoxify the body. A study from Food and Chemical Toxicology used the power of the reishi mushroom to reverse chemical-driven liver damage in mice.