How to Maximize Your Body’s Circadian Rhythm

You’ve probably noticed these tendencies yourself, feeling more energetic and alert during peak periods of the day and more lethargic and run-down at other times of the day.  I believe by understanding the operation of our body clock, we can take advantage of our Circadian Rhythm.

Circadian Rythms

You can adjust these times based on your diurnal type (your sleeping pattern).

0600 –  Light enters our eye increasing cortisol ending our sleep cycle.  Blood Pressure Spike coming out of sleep.

0630 – ?  Breakfast: low glycemic breakfast to prevent insulin spikes (For me: steel-cut oatmeal, blueberries & cream).  Don’t skip breakfast!

1000 – Take advantage of this peak alertness period.  Your most difficult project, study time, tasks you’ve been procrastinating.

1200 – This Circadian LOW corresponds to your bedtime Circadian Low. Push your high energy tasks to afternoon. A 30 minute siesta will do wonders! (i.e. South America)

2:30pm – Great for tight rope walkers or  multi-tasking at work.

3:30pm – Business meetings, commutes, physical activities requiring quick response times.

5:00pm – You knew this was coming…Workout Time.  You’ve got your second wind, no excuses.

6:00-7:00pm – Highest BP & Body Temp. You’re feeling pretty good.

9:00pm – Melatonin (sleep hormone) Secretion begins.  Time to begin unwinding, mentally & physically.

Bedtime notes:

Hungry?  100 calorie meal is ok and won’t interfere with increased metabolic rate that occurs with digestion of a large meal.

That same light that wakes you by increasing your cortisol level is produced by TV before bedtime.  Do you watch TV, then go directly to bed only to have your mind racing and thinking of things to do?  Give yourself an hour before bed of a low light, low stress environment.

Remember that exercise you did around 5:00pm.  The payoff comes here when your head hits the pillow!

Does this model represent how you feel?



Categories: Science


  • Don't Ask says:

    I love how short and to the point this article is. I do wish it’s content was a bit more lengthy. Perhaps you could actually write an article that goes with this headline and put it on this page.

    • My apologies. I’m over in Asia on my way back home when I noticed the issues with the site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. If you’d like, please check back in a few days and the content will be re-established. How easy blogging would be, titles only.

      • Don't Ask says:

        Thank you for fixing it. I was thinking I had stumbled upon one of those “blogs” that only bring people to the site through links for advertising revenue. :) Sorry about being snarky earlier.

  • Naomi Samuels says:

    Im finding that my body clock is not working to how it should be at 2 major points of the day. between 2pm-4pm, this is where I am most tired and have a lack of energy and then I find myself waking up between 2am-4am everyday. this has been happening for the last few months. ive tried everything to aid my sleep at night, but to no avail. any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Naomi, I travel a good bit and am familiar with these same issues. It’s pretty normal to have this low between the 2pm-4pm. What kind of lunch are you having? The wakeup 2am-4am, a couple things come to mind. Stress is one thought. The cortisol release associated with this may attribute to this wake up. Also, try eating a bit of protein and fat prior to bed, no more than 200 calories. Overall, I’ve found that proper nutrition and exercise are the best way to combat our sleep issues. Sleep aids, melatonin primarily are a relatively good choice to get re-synced. The Tylenol PM and other sleep aids interfere with REM and Delta Sleep and really come to a cost to benefit issue. Let me know.

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