circadian rhythm

Exercise & Your Body's Circadian Rhythm

Anyone who travels across time zones regularly knows quite well about the challenges of trying to quickly get your body on-board with it's new schedule. With the constant quest being to find the perfect combination of rest, food, relaxation, etc. to ease the transition quickly.

So, is there an answer?

A recent study from the University of Kentucky examines the role of "zeitgebers" - or time cues - in helping to reset the body's internal clock.

As it turns out the body has several tried and true time cues. The most common, strongest, and well-known is the role of night vs. day (or dark vs. light). Meals are also an important and well-known cue to help set the body's circadian rhythm.

But, as it turns out, scheduled exercise is also an important time cue:

These data provide evidence that the molecular circadian clock in peripheral tissues can respond to the time of exercise suggesting that physical activity contributes important timing information for synchronization of circadian clocks throughout the body.

What's the best way to quickly adjust to a major time zone change?

  1. Make yourself sleep when it's dark and wake when it's light outside.
  2. Eat meals at regular times (Usually have lunch in NY at 1pm? Then eat lunch at 1pm London time, too).
  3. Stick with your usually scheduled training times. Don't fall for waiting for your body to tell you 11pm "feels right" for training, that will prolong the adjustment process.

Hmm, that list above looks suspiciously like good advice to follow whether your traveling or just looking for good information on how to make the most out of your day and maximize energy levels!