How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) | Dr. Michael Van - The Science Of Optimal Human Performance

Learn These 4 Easy Steps On How To Reboot Your Sleep Cycle,
And Develop The Most Important Skills To Take FULL CONTROL Of Your Health, And Daily Energy Output.

 

By now, you know that deep sleep is vital for growth hormone secretion, flushing out toxins in your brain, and repairing DNA damage.

If you haven’t yet read my article on the importance of deep sleep, read that first here (click here to read the first article)

Watch my video now, or keep scrolling if you prefer to read the whole article…

 

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally (Deep Sleep Optimization Series, Part 1) [2019]

 

Like I mentioned in my last article, my Oura ring has read off horrific deep sleep scores, and, knowing just how important deep sleep seems to be, I’ve been on a constant exploration to find ways to optimize this phase of restorative sleep.

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)

My latest Deep Sleep results…

 

Now that we know why deep sleep is so important, how then can we go about optimizing this phase of our sleep?

Well, there is a ton of strategies and it can get pretty complex. Complexity is the thief of productivity, so we are going to break this topic down into sections.

The first thing we need to do in order to optimize your deep sleep is we need to optimize your circadian rhythm.

 

What is Your Circadian Rhythm?

The circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock.

It affects your brain and your hormones, altogether supporting alertness in the morning and afternoon and drowsiness or winding down in the evening.1

It resets itself daily to exposure to daylight.

In fact, natural sunlight during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. Many of our bodily functions are regulated by these rhythms, like our:

  • Body temperature
  • Pulse rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Peak strength, reaction time, and performance
  • The production and release of our hormones, like testosterone, melatonin, serotonin, and cortisol
  • Digestion

The importance of the circadian rhythm and how it relates to health and sleep is no secret. In 2017, the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to three scientists who discovered the genes that control the circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural day-night cycle2.

The circadian rhythm influences the quality of your sleep and is primarily responsible for the amount of deep sleep one experiences at night.

 

The Role of Melatonin

Light directly impacts melatonin production.

Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone or the hormone of darkness, is released by the pineal gland during darkness.

Under normal conditions, it is released at night to trigger your body to sleep, playing a critical role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle.

During daylight hours, the short wavelength of light known as blue light dominates, and this directly blocks the production of melatonin.

This is good because we don’t want to get sleepy in the middle of the day.

LED light bulbs also emit much more blue light compared to incandescent light bulbs, which is why they are nearly 5 times more efficient at blocking the production of melatonin.

Since a healthy circadian rhythm will help proper melatonin secretion in the pineal gland, you will find that many of the ways to optimize your circadian rhythm will also directly impact your levels of melatonin, and hence, deep sleep quality.

 

How to Optimize your Circadian Rhythm for Deep Sleep

 

1. Create consistency in your wake up and bed times

Basically, this means go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. It is particularly helpful to strive for less than 1-hour variability.3

Your circadian rhythm naturally aligns itself with sunrise and sunset and alterations in your sleep schedule can decrease sleep quality and melatonin production, the hormone that signals your brain to sleep.

 

2. Get sunlight exposure first thing in the morning

As stated before, morning sunlight helps reset your circadian rhythm.

This will help improve your daytime energy and as a result, will help your sleep quality at night. Real sunlight is by far the best option, but if this isn’t attainable, then seek any type of artificial blue light device or bulbs.

 

3. Reduce blue light at least 3 hours before going to bed4 5

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)

Exposure to light in general is fantastic during the day, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect.

The following list are strategies you can apply right now to limit blue light exposure before bed, which will negatively impair melatonin production.

 

4 Quick strategies to limit blue light exposure before bed

 

• Strategy 1: Wear blue light blocking glasses

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)

Blue light blocking glasses are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Since it is hard to avoid blue light at night, many opt for wearing blue light blocking glasses 1-3 hours before bedtime. I have been wearing these religiously for the past 3 months and have seen noticeable increases in my sleep scores.

I personally wear a brand called Swannies, which actually look pretty decent, so you don’t have to be embarrassed when going out in public (unlike many brands where you look like an absolute dork).

You can get your pair here and enter the discount code “drmike” at checkout for 10% off:

https://www.swanwicksleep.com?rfsn=2592647.1cde0

• Strategy 2: Filter out blue light form your computer

There are several programs out there, like f.lux or iris, that will help block flicker and blue light from your computer screens. I recommend Iris and you can find it here: https://iristech.co/i/ihYRb

• Strategy 3: Stop watching TV and turn off bright lights two hours before bed

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)

Ideally, we are ditching the electronics at night completely, but if they must be used, screen filters and blue light blocking glasses are paramount.

• Strategy 4: Optimize bedroom lighting

You want your room to be in COMPLETE darkness.

First thing you want to do is use blackout curtains so absolutely no light can escape through your room. The next thing you want to do is cover LEDs from fans and other electronic devices with electrical tape.

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)
At night before bed, you also want to use special night lights or reading lights with red incandescent bulbs. Similarly, with computer blue light screen filters, adding more red light in the evening will help stimulate melatonin production.

 

4. Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm Naturally, in 4 Easy Steps (Deep Sleep Optimization, Part 1) - Dr. Michael Van (Michael VanDerschelden)

Caffeine consumption later in the afternoon and evening has been shown to delay the human circadian melatonin rhythm.6 It is fine in the morning in moderation, but avoid that after lunch cup of joe if possible.

 

Bottom Line

Enhancing your circadian rhythms with the above tips will be a huge step in optimizing your deep sleep.

This will help your body and brain remove toxic waste buildup, release growth hormone, repair your DNA, and regenerate itself.

And in my next articles of the series we will explore what you can actually do to reduce EMF exposure to get the BEST deep sleep ever.

Stay tuned!

 

References:
1. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/85-93.htm
2. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2017/press-release/
3. https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/60/1/10/1439565
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20937863
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16120101
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657156/

 

P.S.

For more information on sleep and other lifestyle optimization techniques, you can download my new, FREE eBook, just by entering your name and email below:

 

The 5 Mistakes Most People Make When Starting an Intermittent Fast (Plus Bonus Tips and Strategies for Optimal Human Performance)Free eBook - 5 Mistakes Most People Make When Starting an Intermittent Fast