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How to Align with Your Circadian Rhythm: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Your circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock that regulates sleep, metabolism, mood and more within a 24-hour cycle. When your lifestyle is aligned with your natural circadian rhythms, you feel more energetic, sleep better, manage stress better and reduce risk of disease. Find more about What is circadian rhythm in my other article.

Unfortunately in today's modern world with artificial lighting, ubiquitous screen time, and little exposure to sunlight, our lives have become detached from the natural cycles that humans evolved with. We stay up late into the night under artificial lights and disrupt our innate circadian rhythms. 

However, it is vital that we realign with these natural cycles that trigger hormones controlling sleep, wakefulness, digestion, and more. Getting sunlight during the day, limiting light and screen exposure at night, and structuring mealtimes and sleep around our body's natural 24-hour clock can vastly improve health by syncing our physiology back with the cycles we diverged from. Reconnecting with our circadian rhythm is profoundly beneficial.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to optimising your Circadian Rhythm health:

Step 1: Maintain Consistent Sleep and Wake Times 

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day programs your body clock and sets healthy sleep-wake cycles. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night as an adult and avoid shifting your sleep schedule on weekends by more than 1 hour.

Step 2: Maximize Morning Sunlight Exposure

Exposure to bright morning light tells your body it's time to wake up. Have your morning breakfast or tea outside or next to a window. Morning walk with your pet friend or a short morning exercise/run after waking will help regulate your circadian rhythm.

Step 3: Dim Lights in the Evening 

The colour and strength of sunlight changes during the day, our body knows how to read this and translate it into time of day. Bright white-blue light at night confuses our brain which suppresses the secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone) reset your inner clock to what our brain thinks is the correct time which can delay your sleep. 

  1. Dim lights 2-3 hours before bedtime and avoid screens

  2. Use only yellow light in the afternoon and evening

  3. Consider blue light blocking glasses for your screens

  4. After the sunset, place your light below your eye level. It will simulate the position of the sun during sunset and it will less likely reset your inner clock.

Step 4: Eat breakfast everyday at the same time

Eating breakfast triggers digestive hormones to prepare your body to process food and nutrients. By eating breakfast every morning at roughly the same time, you align this important meal time for peak metabolic function. This consistency allows your physiology to anticipate and optimise digestion, absorption of nutrients, and regulation of hunger hormones. In this way, setting consistent breakfast timing boosts energy levels and metabolic health. It will also prevent bloating and digestion problems.

Step 5: Avoid Large Meals Before Bed 

For the same reasons as with breakfast, eating dinner at the same time and at least 2-3 hours before bedtime will ensure maximum nutrition absorption, prevent bloating and digestion problems and will ensure quality sleep. 

Eating big meals close to bedtime raises body temperature and stimulates metabolism to work, making it harder to fall asleep. Finish dinner 2-3 hours before bed. The most strict practice would be to drink only plain warm water before bed time. It is because your body needs to digest everything with calories that you put in your stomach. 

When going to night sleep with a full stomach, your body will always need to digest first before falling into deep sleep. Your digestion will also slow down which will take about 3-4 hours for your body to digest all in your stomach. From 7 hours of sleep you suddenly have only 3-4 hours of deep quality sleep when your body will have time to renew cells and heal. In the long term zou create a sleep deficit and create a chronic disease.

Step 6: Get Regular Daily Exercise

Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, ideally for 30-60 min in the morning or afternoon. Outdoor daylight exercise is ideal. Just avoid vigorous exercise in the 4 hours before bed to allow your body to wind down before bed time. 

Step 7: Set Tech Boundaries  

Blue light from phones/tablets after dark hinders melatonin release and disrupts sleep. Turn off all screens 1-2 hours before bed. Charge devices outside bedrooms and use apps to reduce blue light.

Step 8: Optimize Your Bedroom Environment 

Keep bedrooms cool (18-20°C), dark, quiet and ensuring good air circulation for better sleep.

Sticking to all these rules can be overwhelming, choose one or two which align with the most and implement them into your daily rituals. Remember timing is everything.

Small, positive changes consistently can help you better align with your natural circadian rhythms, optimize your health, and feel your best every day. 

Give it a try!



I'm so excited to be sharing with you health tips that are carefully curated to bring balance and positive change to your everyday life.

My goal is to empower you and guide you back to your roots and support your wellbeing with movement, delicious recipes and wellness tips in a joyful and tasty way, without struggle!

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