How to Diffuse Your Body’s Time Bomb

by , | Last updated Jan 11, 2024 | Diabetes & Endocrine Health, Recharge Your Health

The adage, “a time for everything and everything on time,” is also an excellent health tip. How does following a regular schedule help us? Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour, day-night cycles that impact the efficiency of our biological processes occurring in our cells, tissues, and organs. Not only do we have 24-hour rhythms; we have 12-hours rhythms as well. Aging disturbs our circadian rhythm and body clocks.

Almost one-third of all genes are influenced by circadian rhythms. When these rhythms become out of balance, they contribute to cancer, heart disease, inflammation, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, and arthritis. Disturbed biorhythms trigger inflammation, a major player in chronic diseases.1 Exposure to sunlight and at the appropriate time, regularity for meals, rising, retiring, and other lifestyle practices can help you reset the button for myriads of body clocks. By our lifestyle choices, we can disturb or reset our many biological clocks.

Derived Benefits from a Regular Schedule

Reduces Fatigue

When we follow an irregular schedule, fatigue surfaces three to four hours earlier than when we follow a regular schedule.2

Increases Energy

The power plants in our cells are essential in supplying us with energy. They are governed in part by circadian or 24-hour cycles. If you want more energy, cultivate regular times for eating, sleeping, and rising. Why? An irregular schedule disturbs these power plants’ natural rhythm and decreases their energy production.3

Improves Mental Health

Incorporating a regular schedule for healthy meals and exercise, with early-to-bed patterns, improves our ability to handle stress. It also mitigates some of the negative effects of stress. Regularity helps to maintain cortisol within normal limits and reinforces the natural biorhythms of the body.

An irregular schedule seems to reduce mental flexibility.4 Mental flexibility enables us to perceive and handle different situations in different ways. It also helps us to respond effectively to new and complex problems.

Irregular schedules increase the risk for mental illness in susceptible individuals. Disruptions of daily rhythms of the body’s master internal clock cause depression and anxiety-like behaviors.5,6 One reason for the increased risk for depression is that a disturbed circadian rhythm can reduce the level of serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical essential for positive outlook and self-control. Rotating shift workers have lower levels of serotonin.7

Improves Brain Performance

A sobering study found that long-term shift-work (ten or more years) substantially decreases cognitive performance and ages the brain. The lower scores were found to be equivalent to 6.5 years of age-related cognitive decline. Although the effects could be reversed, full recovery could take as long as five years.8 Irregular hours in sleeping negatively impact the academic performance in college students. Studies show that irregular patterns of sleep and wakefulness correlate with lower grade point average, delayed sleep/wake timing, and delayed release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.9

Sweetens the Disposition

Regularity in sleeping improves our moods, increases our happiness, and boosts calmness both during the morning and evening hours. Even just making the transition from an irregular to a regular schedule helps.10 In contrast, social jet lag or staying up late on the weekends is linked to poorer health, worse mood, and increased sleepiness and fatigue.11

Enhances Appetite Control

Disturbed circadian rhythms often contribute to weight gain and impulsive behavior. Two appetite regulating hormones, leptin and insulin go up.12 Disruption of the circadian clock can disturb the composition of gut bacteria in the intestines.13 Friendly bacteria make helpful compounds that help you to resist disease. In contrast, unfriendly bacteria generate pro-inflammatory compounds that promote obesity, metabolic problems, and even depression.

Relieves Pain from Arthritis

Cartilage cells in joints have a functioning body clock that switches on and off the genes controlling tissue function. The genes that regulate human circadian rhythm are significantly disturbed in individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis.14 Scheduled exercise, regular meals, and the periodic warming and cooling of joints could be used to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.15

Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

Insulin-secreting islet cells (beta cells) in the pancreas have their own biological clock. This clock governs the rhythmic behavior of proteins and genes involved in insulin secretion, with oscillations over a 24-hour cycle. The clock of the beta cell coordinates glucose management, and the loss of the clock inhibited the cells from secreting insulin.16 There are thousands of genes in the pancreas sensitive to the light-to-dark circadian rhythm.17 So regularity of schedule becomes a foundational issue for anyone who has diabetes or prediabetes.

Suggestions for Shift Workers

Limit fat and sugar intake.

The food we eat helps to regulate the daily rhythm of many aspects of human behavior and biology.18 If you have to be on an irregular schedule, limit your fat and sugar consumption. Why? A disruption of circadian rhythms, when combined with a high-fat, high-sugar diet, may contribute to inflammatory bowel disease and other harmful conditions. Prebiotics or probiotics in the diet can help normalize the effects of circadian rhythm disruption on the intestinal microbiota, reducing the presence of inflammation.19

Get full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Silence phones. Cover your eyes with a soft, dark scarf. Fragmented sleep has been linked to several health disorders. Keep as regular a schedule as possible. Get sunshine at a regular time each day

Lipoic acid may help.

There is evidence from aging animals that phytochemical lipoic acid appears to reset and synchronize circadian rhythms. Broccoli, tomatoes,spinach, and Brussels sprouts contain lipoic acid. 20


© 2024, Wildwood Sanitarium. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is educational and general in nature. Neither Wildwood Lifestyle Center, its entities, nor author intend this article as a substitute for medical diagnosis, counsel, or treatment by a qualified health professional.


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