<img src="https://certify.alexametrics.com/atrk.gif?account=Kp9Uh1aon800iJ" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

Zone Living

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Lisa Zeigel
on May 04, 2023

Going out for my early morning runs was an exhilarating experience for me when I first started a regular exercise habit. I would feel energized and ready for the day ahead of me. I also liked that it helped me sleep.

Years later, I fell into a routine of exercising in the evening, usually around 8 PM. My energy was low in the mornings, even if I slept 8 hours. I would feel lethargic until later in the day, usually after 5 PM, and then get a power surge in the evening. A cycle in which my sleep patterns became erratic became an unhealthy habit. My health and mental well-being suffered. And then the pandemic hit. My daily routine changed drastically, and my exercise habits followed suit. I started to work out at least 2 hours earlier, resulting in an earlier bedtime, and I woke up earlier. I began to feel much better with more energy earlier in the day.  

Recently I learned about how our “body clocks” or Circadian Rhythms are a sensitive, complex series of functions tied to our metabolism, energy levels, digestion, and blood pressure, and affect every cell. In science, this is known as our “molecular clock” system. In other words, we have several body clocks that operate in tune with each other. When one is disrupted, the entire system is affected. Take the recent time change, where many of us moved our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time (DST). Scientists insist that DST is detrimental to our well-being and if they had their way, we would stay in standard time year-round. It is more natural for us to wake up when it is lighter in the morning. Switching to DST disrupts this equilibrium and shifting to year-round DST might give us some more light in the evenings but would continue to disrupt the early morning light we need to jump-start all of the systems in our bodies. 

Until this is sorted out by lawmakers (arguments for DST vs. standard time are ongoing and the House of Representatives has not passed the bill to make DST permanent), we can do several things with our exercise routines to help our molecular clocks function better.    

- Consider exercising earlier in the day. 7 AM and 1 PM - 4 PM are the “sweet spots” according to a study where the pineal gland released more melatonin in the brain during various exercise times during the day.
- This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway - make time for sleep.  Getting to bed on a regular schedule and getting enough hours (7-8) can make a huge difference.
Upon awakening in the morning, get as much bright light as possible (preferably from the sun but bright indoor light will do).
- Avoid light from computers and other devices (cellphones, tablets, TV) at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid eating late at night and eat breakfast containing protein, carbs, and fiber (oatmeal is ideal first thing in the morning, paired with some egg-whites to make Zone-favorable). 

Of course, these are the ideal scenarios but understandably, we can’t always practice the ideal. Exercise when it works best for you. Until we can all agree on the best way forward (whether it means setting our clocks ahead), know that our bodies thrive on a routine. Making exercise a habit will lead to physiological benefits that will help our molecular clocks, in addition to getting enough light when we rise and winding down with less light before we sleep. Taking advantage of our body’s natural rhythms can be energizing! 

Let Us Know What You Thought about this Post.

Put your Comment Below.

You may also like: