21-Day Challenge Tip #6: Circadian Rhythm & Your Health
Hope you are feeling fantastic during the second week of your 21-Day Challenge. A big part of this challenge is trying to rebalance your hormones and getting your body functioning at its optimal levels. Eliminating inflammatory foods (like grain, alcohol and sugar) and eliminating caffeine should help you feel great. However, getting proper rest is also extremely important. Below is a bit about circadian rhythm and your health.
What is Circadian Rhythm?
Your body’s circadian rhythm basically is its sleep-wake cycle. On a hormonal level, it’s important what time you go to sleep and wake because it affects your body’s cortisol and testosterone levels. Cortisol is a ‘catabolic’ hormone that increases blood sugar for energy and suppresses your immune and recovery system. Testosterone is an ‘anabolic’ hormone that stimulates growth and repair of tissues organs and bones.
Your body naturally regulates the levels of these hormones through the circadian rhythm. Simply put, in a natural environment your cortisol levels are highest in the morning between 9 and 10 am, and taper off in the evening when your testosterone levels start to rise.
When you sleep your body will produce testosterone during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM or deep-deep sleep) phase. In order to best achieve this deep sleep and take advantage of peak testosterone production, your body needs to be in a deep sleep between 10 pm and 2 am. If you get to bed at midnight you may not fall into a deep sleep and will have missed the peak production of testosterone.
Factors that will affect your sleep are elevated cortisol levels from stress, caffeine consumption and alcohol consumption. Although you may fall asleep faster after a glass or two of wine, your sleep is disturbed and you do not get as much REM sleep, which will affect your testosterone production.
What to Do
To experience the best rest and physical repair, you should:
- Avoid stimulants
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid light stimuli prior to bed – no computers, TV or video games 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Keep stress and cortisol levels in check, especially in the afternoon and evening
- Get to bed closer to 10pm to take advantage of peak testosterone production
Yours in health & fitness,
Craig, Pepe & the Precision team