1. Get up after dawn
If you wake up before the sun rises, you’ll start the day with substantially higher-than-usual levels of the stress hormone cortisol, an effect that lasts for at least 45 minutes after you get out of bed. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can significantly increase your risk of heart disease-related death.
2. Tackle tasks that require 'brain power' after lunch
Your circadian rhythm is in what’s known as its rising phase between 9 am
and midday, where body temperature increases and levels of melatonin, the
hormone that encourages sleep, hits its lowest levels. It’s a combination
that produces your brain’s most alert, focused state.
3. Have a nap or problem solve between 2pm and 4pm
It’s the time of day when your alertness naturally takes a dive, making it the ideal window for grabbing a recharging, 10-minute nap. Or, skip the shut-eye and spend some time thinking about any problems you need to resolve. When you’re tired, your brain’s inhibitory processes become weaker. That allows your thoughts to wander more freely, a state of mind that encourages more creative and effective problem solving.
4. Be prepared for evening cravings
The natural rhythm of your body clock makes you predisposed to late-night
cravings, which is why sweet, starchy and salty foods seem more appealing in
the hours before bedtime, compared to during the day. The fix? Suck on a mint or inhale some peppermint scent. It will inhibit food cravings temporarily.
5. Say 'no' to food if you should be sleeping
Your circadian rhythm regulates how your body uses and stores energy. So if you eat when your body should naturally be sleeping, like the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning, you’ll be much more likely to put on weight, regardless of how many calories you’ve consumed that day.
6. Don't sleep in
We all love a lie-in: But sleeping later than usual, even on the weekends, disrupts your circadian rhythm, so that rather than feeling refreshed by getting a couple of extra
hours of sleep on Saturday morning, you’ll feel more tired than usual when
Monday rolls around.
7. Open your curtains as soon as you get up
An early shot of daylight suppresses melatonin levels. Plus, you’ll be setting
yourself up for a better night’s sleep at the end of the day – sleep onset at night
is delayed by six minutes for every day you miss out on exposure to daylight
first thing in the morning.
8. Do some exercise in the afternoon
Physical activity at any time of the day is good for you, but slotting it in-between
lunch and dinner can help to regulate your body clock and circadian rhythm.
particularly during middle age. It also delivers plenty of other health perks.
9. Avoid 'junk' foods
They’re high in saturated fat, which disrupts your body clock by delaying
normal sleep cycles and making eating when you should be sleeping, more
likely, say US researchers.
10. Spend the weekend camping - or in nature
If you’ve got the time, head out somewhere remote, like Pulau Ubin, and pitch a tent. If there’s patchy mobile reception, all the better. It might sound drastic, but it’s very effective.
Two days’ worth of exposure to natural light, free of light bulbs and electronic devices, is enough to completely reset your body’s internal clock.