#SoG137 - Circadian Rhythm 🕐🕐

Circadian Rhythm (#SoG137)

Before I launch in a long-drawn rant on circadian rhythm and it's importance and impact and all that, lemme get some basics out of the way. For starters, what is Circadian Rhythm (CR)?

In simple words, it's your internal body clock that sends signs to your brain to act.

The thing is, our body is governed by 24-hour, self-sustained, oscillatory, biological processes. Sleep. Eating habits. Functioning of the brain. Cellular functions. And others. And all these are essentially synced to the presence/existence of natural light (sunrise). For example, the brain is programmed by nature to "activate" the body when it senses external light (sunrise) and “shut up” when the natural light is absent. So, when you tell me you are a night person, you are actually putting yourself at a disadvantage and fighting against what nature intended us to be. Unless you are an anomaly.

Coming back. So think of this huge master-clock in your body that controls everything.
You know how you automatically get hungry around 1 pm?
How most heart attacks happen at night (I don't have data but the rationale is that the body starts to “wake up” at 2 AM and that's when blood starts to flow faster and the heart fails to respond; another reason why men wake up with a boner and morning sex is the best)?

If you align your activities to this master clock that is aligned to the rise and fall of the sun, you would be at a great advantage. Robin Sharma talks of 5 AM club. Our mythology has huge importance of getting up early. Our lore and fables are rife with tons of inputs about waking early (“early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”, “early bird gets the worm”.

Ok, digressing again. Coming back.

CR is best explained by Dr Satchin Panda. Lemme try to use my words to explain his idea...
Let's say you lock yourself in a prison without any external stimuli. You will be sleepy at a time that you are used to sleeping on most days (say 11 PM) and as per that your body will decide when to prepare itself to wake up. And then all your bodily functions will follow the routine that you are used to following. This will be repeated every 24 hours. Unless there is an external stimulus (someone doesn't allow you to sleep or does not give you food - that's actually how a lot of people were tortured in medieval times).

What's the importance?
Science has proven that CR has been found responsible for ailments like depression, diabetes and other chronic and lifestyle diseases. Oh, as per Dr Panda, "lifestyle" is "what, when and how much do we eat, sleep and move on a daily basis".

He further says, "as long as our eyes are open, our mouths are open." and builds a strong case for time-restricted eating (aka Intermittent Fasting) that is aligned to your circadian rhythm. You HAVE to eat in the 8-hour window. 8 is tough? Do 10. But not more than that. You need the 14 hours to burn the fat that you stored when burned carbs during the day.

In one line, if you cant get to align your functions to your CR, you will not be healthy. And it applies to not just your sleep. But also to your food and your energy levels.

The lesson for you?
Identify your internal master clock.
Ideally, it has to align with the sunrise and sunset.
And then design your life around your clock.
Identify the best times to work, work out and chill.
Or as Dr Panda would say, eat, sleep and move.

One of the greatest and simplest lifehacks ever if you want a better life.

And, please please please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOXQgyjRm0I and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrP78K1objc. These are TEDx talks where Dr Satchin Panda talks about Circadian Rhythm and shows the effect it has on your eating habits and thus, general wellbeing.

And no, I am not a doctor.
And this is not medical advice.
And no, I don't understand everything about CR yet. Someday I will.
If you do, please do teach me.

That's it for the day!

Thank you for reading,
@saurabh
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Tags: Sleep, 5 AM Club, Health, Longevity, Dr Satchin Panda, Intermittent Fasting

Links / Further Reads


Notes
1. You know, how some people are morning people? And some are night people? Their circadian rhythms have got tweaked to make them more active in the morning or evening. But if science is to be believed, you are better off being a morning person.

Streak: 1

Quotes of the day
"The means of learning are abundant, it’s the desire to learn that’s scarce." - Naval
"Find those who fan your fire." -Rumi.

PS: You would have noticed that I have a shiny new template. I think this is the 4th (or is this the 5th?) version of how I send emails. You know, continuous improvement and all that :). Do tell me how you like it.