The benefits of allowing the circadian rhythms to guide you.
One of the things I loved most about studying Ayurveda is that the main teachings encourage you to get into the natural rhythms in order to heal, as do most traditional teachings. Once you take yourself out of this natural flow of the world and treat yourself as 'other', imbalances can happen.
Intermittent fasting has become a popular world in todays health trends, but it is simply the way food is eaten according to Ayurveda. Rising with the sun, eating in the morning and having the last meal around 6pm, then in bed around 10 is encouraged for many health reasons (digestive & metabolic, etc) , as well as promoting sleep and general peace of mind.
In the beginning, I basically thought I would prove this system wrong, as I have been known to be a night owl since I was young. I kept a flashlight in my bed to read books under the covers and that had always seemed to be the way my body worked best. However, once I got into this rhythm. I noticed the balance I found in energy and clarity, and I lost the few extra pounds that I had accepted as sticking around.
Since then, I have seen it with countless clients.
This seemingly insignificant lifestyle factor change is not only ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, there is now plenty of scientific studies to back it up.
A study on mice fed during the day (which would equate to night for us, as they are nocturnal) found that those that were fed during the day developed hyperphagia (the unsatisfied drive to consume food), gained more weight, and spent less time active. This diet seemed to bring on leptin resistance (Leptin is a hormone that is responsible for satiety when eating, and correlates to the amount of body fat we have.), insulin levels were affected, as well as the accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver.
A small study on 'healthy' adults comparing eating times between 8am-7pm or 12 pm-11pm found that the daytime eating promoted 'weight loss, and improvements in energy metabolism and insulin.
There are countless studies showing how our body becomes disregulated when we go against this rhythm, and therefore how dependent we are on these external cues. They show that it affects levels of cortisol, leptin, hormone signaling, metabolism rates, sleep, and more. ( I have listed a few other studies below. )
Some argue that our bodies have not yet caught up or 'evolved' to the place that our world of technology, artificial lighting, nightshifts, and 24 hour door dash is at.
But I believe we need to fully accept that we are a part of the nature of this planet. We evolved to exist with it, not against it, we are part of the seasons, depending on the light and the dark as much as every other creature. We are not separate, we do not need to get back to nature, we need to remember who we are. And we need to get some sleep.
I recognize that not everyone can choose their job or their shift, there is a benefit for this who can choose this. But I do write this to encourage you all to try to get there.
Try it, and let me know what happens.