Self-Care Day to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm, Optimize Your Energy & Feel Vibrant

Self-Care Day to Reset Circadian Rhythm

Hey, I'm Emilie!

A certified life coach, meditation instructor, and spiritual entrepreneur. I’m here to help you create a vibrant life around your higher purpose and heart’s desires. 

Today, I suggest we do a little self-care day experiment.

It’ll be a “gender-neutral self-care day” – it won’t involve face masks or manicures.

Instead, we’ll focus on optimizing our energy levels and overall well-being by balancing our circadian rhythm and being in sync with nature.

A circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, is our body’s internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and the production of certain hormones.

As Dr. Amy Shaw wrote in I’m So Effing Tired:

“Every single organism on the planet contains a ‘clock’ that adapts to day and night— a cycle called ‘circadian.’”

Research shows that when our circadian rhythm is balanced, we have more energy, sleep better, and enjoy better health.

“Our circadian rhythms regulate the timing of everything — from hormone release to turning up or down the metabolism. This means the body will release some hormones and switch off other hormones at the appropriate time in order to get our bodies ready for sleep, waking up, sex, eating, etc.” – Ashley Richmond

In this article, I’ll share 7 self-care ideas to regulate our internal clocks (circadian rhythm). I call these circadian self-care mini-experiments. If you’d like, you can put them all together to create a “circadian self-care day.” That’s what I’ll be doing and sharing with you here.

Mindful Morning Routine

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #1: Wake Up with the Sun

Before electricity (and still today in places where there is no electricity), humans woke up at sunrise.

They didn’t have blackout curtains, so the light woke them up naturally. Plus, there was not that much to do in the dark, so they went to bed early every night.

For these reasons, it was very natural to go to bed not long after sunset and to wake up at sunrise.

At that time, humans were in sync with nature!

Perhaps you’re one of those ninjas who wakes up at 5 am; if it’s the case, good for you! Keep doing it. I’m certainly not.

But for today’s experiment, I set my alarm clock to ring before sunrise. I could have left the curtain open and just woken up naturally as my bedroom got flooded with light, but I decided to take the experiment one step further and actually watch the sunrise.

This meant that I had to wake up a bit earlier.

Researchers have found that “the wavelengths at sunrise and sunset have the biggest impact to brain centers that regulate our circadian clock and our mood and alertness.” (Source: Science Daily)

You get brownie points if you watch the sun rising, plus extra points if you leave your phone on airplane mode for the first hour of your day.

Self-Care Day

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #2: Expose Your Eyes to Sunlight

The next step in the circadian self-care experiment is simply to expose your eyes to sunlight first thing in the morning, just after waking up.

You can just face the sun for a couple of minutes, even on cloudy and rainy days. It’s best to open a window and get direct exposure to sunlight rather than looking through a window.

Doing this will set your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) and regulate your sleep-wake cycle. It’ll tell your body it’s daytime and will help you to stay more alert during the day and sleep better at night.

Self-Care Actitivites

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #3: Do Some Green Exercise

Next is a midday walk in nature. Studies have shown that Green Exercise (aka “exercising in nature”) enhances parasympathetic activity, which the opposite of the stress response.

It also improves sleep quality.

I feel lucky that there’s a very beautiful park where I live in Montreal, with trails in the woods. I go there several times per week (in the summer, of course) to run and walk on the trails— and, yes, it’s very relaxing indeed!

How to reset circadian rhythm

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #4: Ground Yourself

Next is grounding (or earthing) – walking barefoot on the natural ground.

I’ve talked about grounding in many of my articles because it’s fascinating to me that something so simple can have so many health benefits.

I’ve heard the American cardiologist and the author of the book Earthing, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, speaking at conferences twice in the past few years. Each time, he told us that “earthing” (or “grounding”) is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body.

According to research, “grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.” (Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)

Studies have also shown that people sleeping on grounding sheets “resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm,” improving sleep quality. (Source: PubMed)

What could be simpler than walking on the grass (or on the beach) barefoot for just a few minutes a day? You could even sit on a chair in your backyard as long as your bare feet touch the soil.

Try to ground yourself (have your bare feet touch the natural ground) for at least 30 minutes.

How to Balance Circadian Rhythm

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #5: Adopt the Body Clock Diet

You’ve most likely heard of intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating: when you limit your food consumption to a set number of hours per day and fast for the remaining hours.

The most common method is the 16:8, when you eat only during a specific 8-hour time window and fast the remaining 16 hours.

It’s said to be very healthy for most people because it allows the body to repair and rejuvenate during the fasted state.

Well, apparently, we gain even greater benefits by eating during the daytime and fasting at night, a practice called “circadian rhythm diet,” or “body clock diet.”

This has to do with our hormones.

In her book, I’m So Effing Tired, Dr. Amy Shaw wrote:

“Syncing eating with your circadian rhythms can level out insulin levels and increase human growth hormone levels, which lead to weight loss, increased cellular repair, and can even help heal epigenetic changes that can prevent future diseases and illness.”

She recommends fasting between 12 to 15 hours between sunset and sunrise. For example, you could stop eating at 8 pm and have breakfast after 8 am the following day.

Dietitian Jessica Tong says:

“your metabolism changes throughout the day because of your circadian rhythm or natural body clock. In the morning, in response to daylight and food, insulin sensitivity increases and melatonin decreases, making you feel alert and energized. Meanwhile, in the evening, melatonin levels go up and insulin sensitivity decreases, preparing your body for rest and cell repair.” (Article written by Noma Nazish and published on Forbes)

If you’d like, try the Body Clock Diet – eat during the daytime and fast for 12 to 15 hours overnight.

Circadian Clock Self-Care Day

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #6: Watch the Sunset

As we’ve seen earlier, wavelengths at sunrise and sunset significantly impact our circadian clock.

So, what about watching the sunset?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big sunset fan! It may even be my favorite part of this entire circadian self-care experiment day.

Think of the most beautiful place you could watch the sunset near you, bring a friend along if you want, and enjoy.

Circadian clock reset

Circadian Self-Care Experiment #7: Turn Off All Electronic Devices

After watching the sunset, turn off your electronic devices and TV, dim the lights, and maybe even light some candles.

Get comfy, then read a book, listen to relaxing music, or journal about your day, life, and dreams.

Electronic devices emit blue light, which interferes with our circadian rhythm. It delays the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us feel sleepy, in the evening.

Simply put: scrolling on Instagram, watching TV, and being in front of a computer in the evening can impair your sleep quality.

Self-Care Day Circadian Rhythm

What Do You Think?

I hope you’ll give one or more of these practices a try and perhaps even conduct a full “circadian self-care day” experiment. Let me know in the comments if you do.

You may also like these other two self-care articles:

5 Tips to Plan a Self-Care Day Adapted to Your Own Specific Needs

13 Self-Care Practices That Will Help You Thrive!

Have a beautiful week!

Emilie 

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