Enhancing Health and Performance through Circadian Rhythm

May 29, 2023

Martin Kuchynka

Learn how incorporating morning rehydration, sun-gazing, cold showers, optimizing your circadian rhythm, and understanding the impact of artificial light on melatonin production can lead to improved energy, sleep, and overall well-being.

What we’ll talk about

Morning routine is a set of several steps and rules that may seem restrictive at first, but after their incorporation you will have more energy, a better mood and will increase your overall performance.

Every day, immediately after waking up, get up, go to the kitchen, and prepare water with salt. For morning remineralization, it is good to add colored salt to the water (such as Celtic, Himalayan, or Flor de Sal from Mallorca). Sun-gazing is an important part of the morning routine for many people. The sunlight, falling on the retina of an uncovered eye, triggers a series of biochemical reactions, which lead to the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These are, neurotransmitters needed for motivation, energy and good mood. After rehydration, sungazing (spring/summer) and breathing exercises comes the final part of the morning routine, which is a cold shower for 10 s up to 4 min. It replaces morning sun-gazing because it helps reset the circadian rhythm and increases dopamine, noradrenaline, and release endorphins.

Morning lack of appetite or digestive capacity is usually caused by a disturbed circadian rhythm. Breakfast helps to optimize the circadian rhythm, and if you set it correctly, it helps you to enhance your performance/energy throughout the morning. Coffee, tea and stimulant drinks come have their place only when you have completed your morning routine and breakfast.

Morning Routine Benefits

Visible light in the form of photons falling on our eye transforms in our retinas into an electrochemical signal, which gives the impression of time deep in the brain. According to this time, the body then synchronizes its activities within 24-hour cycles. We call this cycle the circadian rhythm.

Sleep and wakefulness, fatigue and energy, as well as the fact that we are ready to fight or eat during the day and repair and rebuild at night, are all dependent on our internal clocks, which synchronize the individual parts of our body into a functioning whole.

It is important to know that circadian rhythm and sleep are two independent systems. You are getting sleepy when body accumulates enough fatigue (adenosine), while the circadian rhythm is controlled primarily by the color and intensity of the light. In practice, this means that you can sleep without difficulty, sleep for eight hours, but have a disturbed circadian rhythm (and decreased melatonin). How so?

Artificial Light and Melatonin Production

With the increase of artificial lighting at night, evening and night shifts, and especially with the development of modern LED displays (mobile phones, computers, televisions), we created an artificial day after sunset.

LED lighting, which contains a high proportion of blue and green light, provides a light spectrum that does not normally occur in nature and strongly resembles light at noon. This change, which has not been here 20 years back, shifted our circadian rhythm by several hours, or completely destroyed it.

And this is a big problem, because a healthy circadian rhythm is linked to:

  • The amount of energy in the morning and during the day
  • Hormone production (growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, insulin, etc.)
  • Immune cell production
  • Bowel repair and regeneration
  • Liver and cell detoxification
  • Neurotransmitters production (serotonin, dopamine. etc.)
  • Regeneration and healing (muscle and skin tissue)

With a disturbed circadian rhythm you may notice sleep problems, lack of energy during the day, increased fat storage and poorer regeneration, inconspicuous but protracted health problems and, in the long run, chronic health problems and illnesses, including diabetes and cancer.

Reduction of melatonin production

In addition to disturbing the circadian rhythm, artificial lighting directly reduces the production of a very important hormone called MELATONIN.

Contrary to popular belief, melatonin is not a sleep hormone (as I wrote above, falling asleep depends on the accumulation of fatigue, not melatonin), although it helps with sleep.

So what is the real role of melatonin?

Melatonin in our body serves as the strongest antioxidant, which is released overnight not only from the pineal gland, but also from all other parts of the body (cells make it locally) and its function is:

  • It helps rid the cells of free radicals and toxins.
  • It destroys viruses and bacteria inside cells.
  • It helps to repair cells (autophagy) or destroy them (apoptosis) if they become cancerous.
  • It supports our immunity, reduces excessive inflammation.

Strengthens and restores the mitochondria that create our cellular energy ATP.

Light Sources to Avoid

The light sources that are intense and contain a blue-green spectrum have the worst effect on reducing night melatonin.

These mainly include LED displays, cold LED bulbs, classic fluorescent lamps and partly also halogen bulbs. You should avoid them before going to bed, the light from mobile phones and television can then be blocked through applications and special glasses (see the evening routine section).

Relatively safe sources of evening lighting include red and orange LED bulbs, Amber LED lighting or even candles candles.

Restoration of Circadian rhythm

Last Information from recent studies about the importance of circadian rhythm and melatonin is greatly changing our understanding of how our body works, health and development of various diseases.

Restoration of circadian rhythm and maximization of melatonin production should be taking first place, even before adjusting the diet. After that, you will start to feel constantly better:

  • You will be more tired in the evening
  • You will have deep and undisturbed sleep
  • You will wake up without an alarm clock, refreshed and full of energy
  • Your body will start working better, will be more efficient in all aspects and loosing weight or gaining muscle mass will become much easier

To restore the circadian rhythm, I use a series of steps that are combined as part of the evening routine.

Purpose of the Morning Routine

The morning routine then serves to get the brain and body into working mode quickly and efficiently and to have enough energy and a good mood throughout the day.

You can start practicing both of these routines at the same time, or start the first week with only the evening routine and add the morning routine the second week.

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