Can We Hack our Biological Clock?
Over the past decade there have been incredible improvements in the fascinating field of chronobiology, searching for answers on the way our body behaves and reacts to a complete cycle of 24 hours, or in other words, a complete cycle in which the earth rotates on its axis.
These changes on our autonomous system are all compressed under a now well known definition denominated circadian rhythm.
Here is an example of what the circadian cycle looks like
In the same way the clocks on our phones measure the changes on a complete cycle of day and night, we have an internal biological clock that measures the changes on our body during the circadian cycle. Nearly every tissue and organ on our body contains biological clocks, composed of specific molecules (proteins) that interact with cells throughout the body to behave according to the period of the cycle.
How does circadian rhythm affect our health?
The most common and related factor to our personal experience can be seen in our sleeping patterns. The circadian rhythm is in charge of releasing hormones like melatonin that gradually ease our energy into sleeplessness when the light is starting to fade into nighttime.
As we know, sleep quality is one, if not, the most important factor when it comes to health and recovery. So we can assume that maintaining our biological clock in check is crucial for our health, energy levels and wellbeing.
There are 3 main factors that interfere directly with our biological clocks
Mutations or changes in certain genes can affect the way we react to light on a cellular level, making them unable to identify or trigger the actions needed to induce sleeplessness and therefore develop insomnia. This mutations can develop in our system after a viral infection or exposure to mutagens.
Jet Lag or different time zones in a short period of time can have an important and direct effect on our biological clocks, altering our sleep patterns and if repeated, causing chronic disorders that can trigger malfunctions on our system that in the long run, can take our bodies into crisis.
Blue light exposure at night time can confuse our system and alter the functionality of our circadian rhythm, slowing down the segregation of melatonin and therefore making it harder to fall asleep. This habit is the most common in modern times, accumulating at the same time EMF exposure in our bodies, taking free radical levels and inflammation up to the roof and recovery capacity down considerably.
The best you can do regarding your health is to keep your sleeping habits aligned with your circadian rhythm, listen to your body and make time zones change gradually and controlled so that your body never enters a state of crisis.
Does Earthing help restore our biological clocks?
Earthing is the practice of being in direct contact with the earth, allowing electrons to flow through our bodies thus reaching a state of balance, getting rid of any free radicals, reducing inflammation and revitalizing our energy.
When we are in this state, we are literally connected to the earth and its energy, synchronizing with it, so in my opinion, it's not crazy to think that our internal clock syncs with the source that gave sense to the clock in the first place. You somehow feel lighter, less tyred and recover faster from the harms that for example Jetlag can bring to a specific period of time.
A recent study measured cortisol levels during sleep to check its correlation with the circadian rhythm.
This was the conclusion after the experiment:
Results indicate that grounding the human body to earth ("earthing") during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective reporting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress.
I definitely preach for earthing, but that is due to my own experience. I highly encourage you to try it by yourself and integrate it on your travel kit and daily routines. The benefits accumulate and you can take control of your recovery like you are meant to do.