How I messed up with my circadian rhythm

Erratic eating, sleeping, and exercise schedule further disrupts your body

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

I’ve decided to write about the circadian rhythm after watching Darin Olien and Zac Efron’s show, “Down to earth” and reading the book “Change your schedule, change your life”. Little did I know that I was already practicing most of the recommendations without knowing that there is a whole concept behind it.

As an Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) enthusiast, I feel more in tune with my mind, body and soul now than ten years ago. I might not have the same energy level or work out as I used to before, but I would not exchange my current piece of mind for a fit body.

The change is notorious, as I recall my teenage and college years being sick frequently, from colds to cramps. I was the type of girl who ate more than my male classmates, who ordered more than a dish for lunch and snacked all the time. I would eat bavarian Dunkin’ Donuts during class and regret having oily snacks whenever I had stomaches. Besides eating all the time, I didn’t have a sleep routine and spent several hours on ICQ, MSN messenger and downloading songs after dinner. Because of my rhinitis, I remember taking medicine to control the symptoms, which sometimes knocked me out and I was unable to attend the first class in the morning. I also went out clubbin on weekends and at the peak of my “party girl” period, I even went out on weekdays and went straight to work the next day. OMG who am I talking about?

I could completely ignore that phase of my life and pretend I had always been healthy and motivated. But if I hadn’t suffered from poor health, perhaps I would not treasure the health I have now or would not have developed the counciousness I own. Fun fact is that nothing really serious has happened for me to have an “Eureka” moment and change. I believe it was gradual and somehow started almost a decade ago when I got familiar with accupuncture and TCM in Beijing. I recall the Chinese doctor mentioning something about chi and yin, and depending on the foods one consumed, it would reflect on the person’s overall health, even cause hair loss. However, I won’t say that my healthy journey started then because I still ate junk food and went out for cocktails on a weekly basis. But the seed was planted there.

Fast forward I few years and back in Brazil, I joined a group of people who exercised at the main park in my city and they promoted a healthy lifestyle, which consisted in functional training, running and yoga. With time it was natural to develop interest in superfoods, meditation, plant-based diet, etc., and during the time I was part of this group, I took a trip to Thailand and joined a fitness retreat where I worked out the whole day for a week and got to feed myself with delicious and nutritious foods from the Thai cuisine. At that moment I felt I was at my peak of performance and looks. I met a bunch of people with the same interests and we exchanged many ideas on lifestyle and healthy food.

Ok, that was a lot for an intro that does not seem to have anything to do with circadian rhythm but it actually does portray everything that did not suit my constituency nor my own circadian rhythm. By the way, let me give a short definition for it, just for the context. It is basically a natural and internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours.

Many adults believe that one’s routine is unique to each individual and some even swear that they function better and feel more productive at night, so they prefer to go to bed after mignights and wake up later. I regret to inform that this is an illusion. You may enjoy the quiet at dawn, feel inspired, etc, but is your body happy with this lifestyle? Are you sure you are not cranky, dehydrated, or craving junk food? Are you sure this lifestyle is not affecting your personal and work relationships?

If you are below 50 years old, you probably are not feeling the consequences yet, but your body is accummulating all the inputs and one day you will realize how your body and mind were neglected. As the difinition above, the detail is that our bodies are in sync with the planet, so regardless of how you want to trick your mind, the sun and the moon will always be there to remind us that there is a specific time to wake up, exercise, eat and sleep. And repeat.

If you have read the full post and want to know more about our circadian rhythm and Ayurveda, please comment here and I will prepare another post with recommendations from the book.

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