Paleo Lifestyle Adjustments

Are you causing your health problems?

Since electric lights have been popular, our natural daily cycles have changed.

Since electric lights have been popular, our natural daily cycles have changed.

As a holistic doctor, I have to look at all parts of a person’s life to see if there is something negatively influencing their health. Today’s society creates a lifestyle that can cause some major health problems. We all know some of the basics that are preached by health care practitioners in the natural field:

  • Whole food diet
  • Good balance of cardio and anaerobic exercise
  • Using natural personal products
  • Thinking positive

There is something that not many doctors will touch upon: a patient’s daily schedule. If we think about Paleo living, the first thing that we think about is food. But there is much more to consider- a Paleo lifestyle.

How are our bodies wired with the daily cycles

Many things were different in tribal society. Humans spent so much evolutionary time in the Paleolithic period, that the past couple of thousand years haven’t been enough time to change the way we are wired. We basically woke up with the sun and went to sleep with the moon. I’m not saying that we obeyed the exact timing of night and day, but we went along with it in general. We developed a circadian rhythm that controls our nervous system, hormones, and organs of our body. This rhythm keeps our body functioning well.

Since the invention of electric lights, we have no longer needed to obey the darkness of the night as the indicator for sleep. In today’s society we have become slaves to our career and modern lifestyle. We stay up throughout the night and early morning watching the brightly illuminated screens of our televisions, computers, and phones. This is not merely a problem with not getting enough sleep, it is a problem of upsetting the complex functions of our body.

Circadian rhythm interrupted

When we don’t go to sleep with the cycles of the night, our circadian rhythm doesn’t initiate our hormones and nervous system to do their jobs as if we were sleeping. This is a big problem and our health has noticeably declined as a result. Some of the hormones that are imbalanced as a result are:

  • Melatonin
  • Serotonin
  • Insulin
  • Cortisol
  • Cortisone
  • Progesterone
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone

At night, when there are no lights on and you are resting, your circadian rhythm goes into maintenance mode. Your body starts to balance your nervous system, hormones, digestion, immune system, and much more. When your eyes see lights at night, or even when light simply shines on your skin, it tells your circadian rhythm that it is daytime and stops the night time processes. When your circadian rhythm is off, your hormones are not secreted in the right amount at the right time, and some of the following types of health challenges can happen:

  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Allergies
  • Frequent colds/flu
  • Adrenal stress 
  • Thyroid problems
  • Reproductive hormone imbalances
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer

What to do?

I’m not saying that you need to be in bed sleeping exactly when the sun goes down, but in general you shouldn’t stay up too late on a regular basis.

Use dimmer lights in the evening and try to limit TV, computer, and smart phone usage in the later evenings. The bright lights and screens tell your body it’s daytime and your circadian rhythm can not go into night mode.

Don’t be too active at night. This means don’t exercise in the evening after the sun has been down for a while. And even worse is exercising in bright lights! So exercising at the gym late at night is really bad.

Refined sugar throws your circadian rhythm off too. Eat good healthy food and try to only eat fruit that is in season in your area. It’s best to eat something that has good fat and/or protein content in the evening to help with sleep.

Meditation helps with almost everything! If you have a busy lifestyle you should be meditating. It can help with all aspects of your health as well as your overall happiness.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb

If you need help getting your body synced back into it’s natural rhythms, see an applied kinesiologist. Using muscle testing to help with find what therapies treatments are right for you can be a game changer for your health .

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