Body Wisdom

Circadian Rhythm Of The Body

Our body carries on its functions in tune with a rhythm. When our daily actions like sleeping, eating, exercise etc are in tune with this rhythm, good health becomes effortless. Read on to understand what our body’s circadian rhythm looks like and sift through the confusion to know when to eat, sleep, rest etc in alignment with this rhythm.

Just as earth has its rythm of day & night, or of different seasons, body has its own natural rhythm. A circadian rhythm is any biological process that displays a repetitive cycle every 24 hours, i.e. the same set of functions happen again & again over a 24 hour period. For eg: You go to sleep at night & you are awake during the day – this same process happens every 24 hours. Every function of our body is designed to be in a certain rhythm, when we align our lifestyle to follow this rhythm, we feel good & keep healthy because our body is able to function at its optimum.

Let’s say you slept on time one night, you will feel fresh the next day. Else you will feel drowsy & grumpy because body was unable to do its night functions, you threw it off balance by sleeping late!! Yes there is so much that our body does when we are asleep !! The functions of growth, repair & maintenance primarily happen at night. If we go out of sync from this rhythm, we go out of sync with nature & that makes us feel uneasy & can lead to bad health.

With reference to food too, our body works in a rhythm. It’s ability to deal with food depends on the effective functioning of three body cycles. It is based on the functions of eating & digesting food, absorbing its nutrients & removing the waste material from the body. Although these 3 functions are continuously going on in the body, a particular function is more intense during a certain time of the day. They work in approximately 8 hour cycles.

  1. 4 am - 12 pm: Elimination of body wastes & food debris – When we wake up in the morning, we probably have a bad breath, we get up & go to the toilet, or clean our mouth & face to feel fresh. This is because body is in the process of eliminating waste material.
  2. 12 pm - 8 pm: Appropriation – Eating & digestion of food.
  3. 8 pm - 4 am: Absorption & use – Nutrients received during the day are absorbed by the body & used to make new cells & tissues.

Living & eating as per the body cycles helps us to stay in harmony with nature. This is what we should do:

  1. When the body is in elimination stage, we should not eat heavy food. The moment we eat something, body’s focus turns to dealing with that food item. Elimination stage is important as it helps the body get rid of toxic waste. If the body is not able to do so, wastes start getting accumulated. This can result in accumulation of fat & also lead to illnesses. Hence, eat light during the elimination stage – fruits are the easiest to digest & also help the body clean up its waste.
  2. In the appropriation stage, body’s capability to digest food is at its peak. Hence, if you wish to take any heavy foods, they should be taken during lunch time only. For eg: Let’s take the example of cooked food. Body has to spend more energy in breaking down cooked food vis-a-vis raw food. Hence, eat cooked food in lunch, when the digestion function is at its peak.
  3. In the absorption stage also, don’t eat heavy food. Let your body focus on absorbing & using nutrients from the food you ate through the day. Eat light – a raw veggie salad with nuts & seeds is a good option. Eat early, eat few hours before you go off to sleep so that the digestion work is already over & body can focus on absorption & use when you are asleep. Drinking nut milk before going to bed is soothing for the body & can help in sleeping better. A good night sleep supports the body repair & maintain cells & tissues.

The secret to weight loss, feeling energetic, being illness free & staying fit in the long run, lies in aligning our life with the body’s circadian rhythm. Focus on eating & sleeping as per this rhythm & make this a way of life.


Recommended read / watch:

  1. Chapter 3 – The natural body cycles; Book – Fit for Life; Author – Harvey & Marilyn Diamond
  2. THAC journal – Overview on health & nutrition
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm
  4. Youtube video - The Circadian Rhythm and Your Biological Clock in 3 Minutes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZUeKoD_3y0


Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.

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