I have always resisted wearing a watch. There’s something about always knowing exactly what time it is, down to the minute, that feels pervasive and subjugating. And yet, the world we live in requires us, on some level, to know when things are happening. Meetings, errands, appointments. We need to be aware of the time so we can meet our commitments.
That does not change the fact that the more we learn about our body’s natural clock, the more important the choices around nutrition, movement, and light can affect our sleep patterns. Our bodies, and all organisms, in fact, operate on a 24-hour circuit that dictates when our bodies perform certain functions which is critical to survival.
But, just like any timepiece, there are slight variations in how each person’s central clock operates but it regulates things like blood pressure, body temperature, cortisol (stress hormone), melatonin secretion, and therefore the sleep/wake cycle.
Then, there is a peripheral clock, which gets many of its cues from your central clock but these cues also can easily be overridden by several external factors. This clock controls things like blood sugar, digestion, hormones, and cholesterol. This is where the concept of nutrition and specifically chrono-nutrition can help you make small changes that improve your overall health and sleep patterns.
Chrono-nutrition is the concept of optimizing your eating patterns, exercise habits, exposure to light and darkness around your specific chronotype to maximize your sleep. So you may consider yourself an early bird (guilty) or a night owl, and you should make decisions to synchronize your central and peripheral clocks.
There are some guidelines (more like pillars) that, regardless of your chronotype, would be wise to follow. For example, late meals (think after 8 PM) or midnight snacks disrupt your peripheral clock, especially if you indulge in sugars and carbohydrates. Skipping breakfast has a similar effect, despite its popularity among intermittent fasters, and this desynchronization generally leads to lower levels of leptin which suppresses hunger and we, as a result, tend to overeat later in the day.
In other words when you eat can be almost as critical as what you eat, when it comes to central and peripheral clock synchronization. Supplementation can also play a key role in cueing our bodies when to wake-up, when to move and when to rest. One of my favorite supplements for hacking this process and optimizing my days and nights is the three stage chrono-nutrition system from MANTRA Labs called RISE, GO and REST.
Perfectly timed to get you up in the morning, going when it’s time for movement and primed for sleep at the end of the day, I have personally benefited from using their products and while they can’t fill debts left by poor or mistimed diet choices, they certainly act as a bit of security for the days when I can’t do everything perfectly. One of the things I absolutely love about these supplements is no caffeine (except for Go which uses Innovatea for some light, clean energy), 100% of key vitamins and ground breaking oceanic hydration elements that don’t use traditional electrolyte solutions. They are every bit as good as promised and taste great!
Use the code gorhone25 to save 25% on any MANTRA Labs product of your choice.