Circadian Rhythms Part III—Tips for Circadian Health

Taking into consideration the information provided in Parts I and II of this series on circadian rhythms, here are a few tips to ensure that your body clock stays in sync.

  1. Try to go to sleep by 11:00 pm—earlier is better, if your schedules allows.
  • “Spending time in low light a few hours before bedtime will encourage your body to produce sleep-promoting melatonin.”¹  Any amount of time you spend in low light before bedtime will be helpful.
  1. Make your sleeping room as dark as possible.
  • Use room-darkening shades or curtains.
  • Turn off all lights, digital and electronic devices, including the TV.
  • If you feel you need light to go to sleep, reduce the light slowly over time until you can comfortably sleep in the dark.
  • In the morning take a walk outside (it doesn’t have to be long) or eat your breakfast by a sunny or well-lit window.
  • To the degree you are able—given your responsibilities to others—go to bed and get up at the same general time every day.
  • It is best to block out blue light in the evening.
  • If you need to use a laptop or smart phone in the evening get a program like f.lux (  This will help to eliminate the blue wavelengths coming from the screen.
  • Another solution is to wear amber sunglasses at night or put a red or amber light bulb in your bedside lamp.
  • Remember, morning sunlight is full of blue light, similar to the light that comes from digital devices.  When you text or play video games or work on a lap top or phone in the evening your brain’s master clock thinks the day is just beginning.  As a result your organ systems shift into morning tasks rather than evening ones.  This causes dysfunction in the body and ultimately disease.
  • Consider replacing the use of digital devices in the evening with new ways of relaxing.  You could pick up a good book (not on your tablet), journal with pen and paper, take a long candle-lit soak in the tub or listen to some soothing music.
  • Eat all your meals in a 9 – 12 hour span during the day.  Finish eating by 7:30 – 8:00 PM.  If weight loss is an issue, try to finish your main meal before 3:00 PM.  Studies have shown that this pattern works best for losing weight.  In this regard it is best to finish your last meal by 6:00 – 7:00 PM.
  • Exercising regularly is always important and during the day is best.  Aerobic exercise, if done in the evening can, “…disrupt sleep and other rhythm dependent aspects of health.”²
  • Optimal health is best achieved by keeping your bodily systems “in sync”.


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¹Out of Sync, by Emily Laber-Warren, “Scientific American Mind”, p. 35

²Ibid, p. 35