Why We Love Circadian Fasting for a Healthier Lifestyle in Tune With Nature
Fasting is all the rage these days.
It’s mentioned in many health publications, glamour magazines, and frequents influencer content.
Have you tried fasting?
It’s a powerful way to give your body much-needed rest from digesting food. By taking a break from constant digestion, your body can restore critical functions and systems. That’s why we love the unique concept of circadian fasting: it gently and naturally leads to a healthier body.
This type of fasting integrates ancestral wisdom. It follows the path of our ancestors that lived simpler lives, in tune with nature. Circadian fasting follows a schedule that supports your body’s natural rhythms. It flows with the earth’s 24-hr cycles of day and night.
Circadian fasting is unique because it works with your body instead of against it. It supports your body’s natural + biological clock (aka circadian rhythm) to give you long-term results. It’s a lifestyle shift instead of a quick-fix diet that burns you out after a few months.
Circadian fasting is easy to maintain. And it makes you feel incredible from head to toe (yes, even your skin). ;)
The Circadian Rhythm Explained
The word circadian comes from the Latin term “circa diem,” which means “around a day.”
Your body follows an internal 24hr rhythm that mimics the rising and setting of the sun. Stimulus from the sun signals hormones that carry out vital functions in your body – including when to eat, sleep, digest, use energy, and more.
The hypothalamus is what regulates your circadian rhythm internally. Exposure to light “activates” a response from the hypothalamus. Environmental factors like exercise, social activity, and temperature also affect your circadian rhythm.1 Your body releases hormones at intervals to keep it aligned with the sun:
- A few hours before you wake up, adrenaline releases so your body has the energy to function.2
- During daylight hours, cortisol increases + melatonin decreases, so you stay alert for the day’s tasks.
- As the sun sets (and the sky gets darker outside), melatonin increases to prepare your body for sleep.
(Fun fact: jet lag happens from unfamiliar light exposure, which “throws off” your circadian rhythm.)
When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, so are the “signals” sent to your hypothalamus. That’s why “mistimed” eating (not aligned with your circadian rhythm) can lead to chronic illnesses over time. Your body is designed to eat during certain windows.3 Your digestive system reinforces this process. It produces proteins to match your normal timing of meals. And your endocrine system regulates hormones to complement the energy levels needed.1
An off-balance (or disrupted) circadian rhythm can cause:4
- Metabolic syndrome + obesity
- Premature aging
- Cardiovascular disease
- Immune deficiencies
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal sleep cycles
Circadian fasting can combat these health concerns by only eating at times that support + realign your circadian rhythm. This means letting the sun's patterns guide the timing of your meals.
Realigning with the earth's rhythms can do wonders for your health. This is probably the biggest benefit of circadian fasting – working with your body’s internal clock.
So what does a typical circadian rhythm look like?
→ 8hrs of sleep, 16hrs of wake time.2
But schedules, culture, habits, and stress interfere with your circadian rhythm over time. As a result, circadian fasting isn’t a normal way of life as it once was for our ancestors.
So let’s discuss more about how your circadian rhythm affects your eating habits. Soon enough, the concept of circadian fasting will make perfect sense.
Circadian Fasting: What It Is + How It Works
Circadian fasting follows the patterns of the sun. It’s pretty simple: you eat when the sun is up and “fast” when the sun is down. But in reality, this isn’t even really a “fast” – it’s how your body was designed to function!
Circadian Rhythm + Eating Habits
Your body’s internal clock functions better when you’re eating at times it's designed to be digesting + processing food.
Studies have shown that circadian fasting increases fat burning.
→ But late-night eating – or even snacking – causes your body to use carbohydrates instead of utilizing (burning) fat during sleep.5
That’s why only eating during daylight improves metabolism + weight. It’s much more difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol at random times of the night. Your body burns fat at night naturally.
We love that circadian fasting ties into ancestral wisdom. We have a lot to learn from our ancestors’ simpler way of life. They probably didn’t do much at night – went to sleep when it was dark and got up with the sun. So you can imagine their eating followed suit.
Why Circadian Fasting Is Different Than Other Forms of Fasting
There are many reasons circadian fasting is one of the simplest + easiest forms of fasting.
As you can see, circadian fasting is a simple concept designed to tune back into what your body truly needs + wants. Using your internal clock is much easier than complicated fasting regimens – and it works! Check out these benefits.
Benefits of Circadian Fasting
The benefits of circadian fasting are backed by science. But it also has a long list of common-sense benefits that accompany better (+ more aligned) choices.
Here’s how circadian fasting benefits your overall health:
And if you know our love for all things healthy body + skin, you know we can’t help but make the connection. All these things also help improve the state of your skin. ;)
But let's look at the main principles of circadian fasting so you have a good grip on it. (Don’t worry, it’s simple.)
How to Practice Circadian Fasting
Technically, circadian fasting is a form of intermittent fasting. But we’d argue it works better with your body. It aligns with the natural biological rhythms that help your body function at its best.
The basics: don’t eat unless the sun is up.
→ Skip late-night snacking
→ Prioritize breakfast
→ Eat dinner before sunset
→ Eat most of your food earlier in the day
→ Minimize snacking
→ Stick to three meals
There’s no catch here – it really IS that simple! But if you want to boost your results, try these tips to reset/prioritize your circadian rhythm.
- Use blue light glasses (or red light bulbs) after the sun sets. Artificial lighting in modern culture has disturbed our circadian rhythms.
- Limit caffeine. Caffeine in moderation is fine, but be mindful of when you drink caffeine and how much you drink.
- Exercise regularly. Movement helps your body detox, fight inflammation, and unwind from stress.
- Go outside first thing in the morning. Expose your body (and hypothalamus) to sunlight to kickstart the correct hormonal release.
- Find ways to lower your stress. Stress is a big contributor to broken circadian rhythms.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Sleep is deeply restorative for your body. Sleeping in tune with the sun’s rhythms aligns with your body’s circadian rhythm.
Do you feel ready to start circadian fasting? Living in tune with your body’s natural rhythms is an excellent way to kickstart the best health of your life.
Ready to Jumpstart Health Throughout Your Body?
Our opinion: circadian fasting is something that can benefit everyone. There aren’t any known contraindications – only good can come from it.
Our bodies are designed to live in tune with the rhythms of the earth – what a beautiful thing. You already have access to a roadmap for the perfect plan to boost your health.
It’s a healthier way of eating that reconnects us to our roots + reminds us to embrace the simplicity that grounds us.
- Sleep Foundation | Circadian Rhythm
- Britannica | Circadian Rhythm
- National Library of Medicine | Insulin/IGF-1 Drives Period Synthesis to Entrain Circadian Rhythms With Feeding Time
- National Library of Medicine | Health Implications of Disrupted Circadian Rhythms and the Potential for Daylight as Therapy
- Vanderbilt University Research News | Fasting at Night or in the Morning? Listen to Your Biological Clock, Says New Research
- National Library of Medicine | Circadian Rhythms: A Regulator of Gastrointestinal Health and Dysfunction
- National Library of Medicine | Role of Intermittent Fasting on Improving Health and Reducing Diseases
- National Library of Medicine | Circadian Rhythms, Time-Restricted Feeding, and Healthy Aging
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