How and why waking up at the same time every day can improve your health
Stronger immunity, improved concentration and emotional stability could be 40 winks away
This article was originally published October 17, 2017.
Healthy morning habits can bring order to our lives and kick-start a daily routine that benefits our overall well-being and productivity. While it may take about 40 days to create a habit, what really makes a habit stick is when we experience a positive outcome. The Ayurvedic approach to health, is to bring order by establishing consistent daily practices that restore balance. Consistency is a vital way to transform a habit into a daily routine that keeps our mental, emotional and biological health in check. Hitting the snooze button every morning is simply a bad habit. Waking up every day at the same time can break it, and have you on your way to sustaining health.
Our bodies are biological clocks with the succession of a circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are the cycles in the body that fluctuate over a 24-hour period. In an acknowledgment of its importance, a Nobel Prize was recently granted for research on circadian biology and its implications for our health and wellbeing. When there is prolonged misalignment between our lifestyle and our circadian rhythm it can increase the risk for various diseases. If we wake up at the same time every day, we can reinforce the circadian rhythm and be prompted to go to sleep at the same time every night.
The outcome is that our bodily functions and cycles operate efficiently, keeping our system strong and energized. Here are just some of the benefits of breaking with poor habits and adopting a routine wake up.
Better Digestion, Regularity, Stronger Immunity
Our circadian rhythm keeps our digestive system and metabolism in balance. When our body is well rested, our hormones and thyroid gland can function optimally, triggering hunger and the enzymatic juices that aid in digestion. For optimal digestive results, try eating meals at the same time every day. Studies show that a routine eating time supports our body's internal clock and maintains a resilient digestive system.
A healthy cycle of digestion promotes regular bowel movements, which directly impacts our mood and state of health. If we are not eliminating properly, we can experience headaches, halitosis, loss of appetite, slow metabolism, indigestion and loss of sleep. Regularity helps move toxins out of the body, maintains our health and keeps our biological rhythm in order.
A routine waking and sleeping cycle directly impacts our immunity. The Sleep Foundation states that, "Cytokines, the chemicals our immune systems use to help fight an infection, are powerful sleep-inducers. This suggests that sleep may help the body conserve energy and other resources it needs to mount an immune response and fight disease." When our sleep, digestion, excretion and metabolism are all functioning optimally, it supports our immunity to stay strong. These systems are all directly related to our circadian rhythm and biological clock.
Improved Concentration and Productivity
When we are well rested and the body is functioning optimally, our learning, memory and concentration capabilities stabilize. Routines can also help to compartmentalize tasks that may cause us subconscious stress. Scheduling our responsibilities helps to keep us on time and mentally focused.
Human error can occur due to fatigue which can affect productivity, motivation, and mental clarity. When we wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day, the quality of our sleep can improve, and help us to feel inspired, invigorated and alert throughout the day.
If you are feeling like your life is fragmented, your thoughts are out of order and your emotions are spilling over, a routine can help to keep you motivated, determined and dedicated. Positive habits can continuously keep us focused and help to bring clarity to the changes and challenges that we may face in life.
The 40-day wake-up challenge — see for yourself
For the next 40 days, try waking up at the same time every day. If you are very ambitious, you may also choose to eat at the same times each day, and go to sleep at the same time each night. Ideally, you should wake up, and be out of bed by 7:00 AM and ready to sleep by 10:00 PM. If those times don't work for you, then follow the schedule that is best for you — consistency is the key. Different bodies require different amounts of sleep, so be aware of your own personal checkpoints; sleep can vary between 7-9 hours for each person per night.
Remember, instead of making your new habits a discipline, think of them as a lifestyle. It will help your mind rest easy.
Nicole Mahabir is the Founder and Director of JAI Wellness, a platform for health education, mindful living and wellbeing. For the past 10 years, Nicole has lead professional certified programs, teaching Nutrition, Meditation, Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy and Natural Anti-Ageing Beauty Regimes. When she isn't teaching, Nicole creates integrated, sustainable health protocols for her busy clients. Follow Nicole on Instagram @jaiwellness or on her website, jaiwellness.com.