Circadian rhythms are changes in physiology that follow a 24 hour period. These changes inherently follow a 24 hour cycle, but can be reset by certain environmental factors called zeitgebers, or timegivers.
Every organism under the Sun has circadian rhythms, and we have recently only begun to discover how many aspects of our modern environment can disrupt our circadian rhythms. More obvious ways that we experience circadian disruption include jet lag and shift work, but there are other ways in which our circadian rhythms become disrupted that can have a negative effect on our physiology.
Even mild circadian disruption caused by poor meal timing, improper light exposure, lack of physical activity, and use of substances such as coffee, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs can increase our risk of the many conditions that circadian disruption may contribute to. This includes:
And many more…
Now you may be thinking…that’s a lot of stuff! I can’t imagine circadian rhythms can impact that many disease states! Well, it’s true. As I mentioned, circadian rhythms control a large portion of your physiology, primarily through your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls automatic processes such as digestion, immunity, heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, the stress response, you name it.
Proper exposure to environmental factors that help set your circadian rhythms set the tone of the autonomic nervous system somewhere between fight or flight and rest and digest. Autonomic tone controls how you respond to the environment, from your mood to your immune system. I covered this in a blog on time-restricted eating that you can check out here. You don’t want to be too fight or flight or too rest and digest, you want to be somewhere balanced in the middle.
Circadian rhythms and chronic disease
While the modern approach to treating acute diseases with things such as antibiotics has been a slam dunk, managing chronic disease has not gone as planned. A large part of the issue is that the chronic conditions that end up taking most people down are thought to be caused by mismatch between our genes and the environment. You may be able to lower biomarkers associated with chronic disease, but even the CVD wonder drug category statins don’t extend life a single day.
Think about what most people die of these days and the factors that contribute to these diseases. We have cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Cardiovascular tone is set by the autonomic nervous system as is blood glucose. The destruction of cancerous cells follows a circadian rhythm, and all of these diseases are inflammatory in nature which is regulated by the immune system which is regulated by…you guessed it, circadian rhythms.
This is why addressing the ultimate cause of the problem, poor lifestyle choices, must be addressed and corrected. Circadian rhythms are a substantial part of this equation as they regulate physiological process such as immune function, digestion, cardiovascular tone, hunger, motivation, mood, and how we feel throughout the day. Try maintaining a healthy weight when you’re unmotivated, hungry, fatigued, and in a foul mood all the time.
With all this in mind, I developed the Circadian Retraining Program to help people navigate the science of circadian rhythms. While most people are preoccupied with what and how much when it comes to their health, circadian rhythms deal with when. This is a novel approach that’s just now making waves in the health community, so many people are interested in diving in but don’t know where to start. That’s what the Circadian Retraining Program is for, to help you navigate the variable of time in your life.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just listen to what members are saying about how the program has changed their lives…
“I’m happy to report after years of multiple daily, painful, debilitating diarrhea and fatigue, I’ve gone a whole month without any diarrhea. My stools still aren’t perfect, but it’s a tremendous improvement. I think the CRP has helped quite a bit. I’ve also been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for about a year (which tries to regulate gut bacteria for those with IBS/IBD), but didn’t see a lot of progress with it until starting the CRP. I no longer seem to have any issues after eating fatty foods like ribeye steaks either…CRP has been a great help. Now going on two months of major improvement. ”
-A. C., IBS-D sufferer & CRP member
“Hey everyone, a Canadian circadian trainee here. I’ve been all in on eating window and going to bed…for a few weeks now. Absolutely loving the energy and mental vibrancy!!! I don’t think people recognize me and I’m not even sure if I recognize myself with all this positivity haha”
-M. K., CRP member
“I just want to say I bought The Circadian Retraining Program and the content is AMAZING! I honestly thought it would be a complete waste. I took a chance because I really liked Dave Mayo‘s blog posts.
I’ve done a lot of research on health over the years so I figured I wouldn’t learn anything new. I thought Dave would just give the basics that everyone already knows. He gives all of that and a whole lot more. There is a lot of attention to detail. A few of the things he mentions I would have never even thought of. He clearly knows his stuff. And he breaks it down into simple actionable steps.
For anyone on the fence about buying I think it’s totally worth it. The information is incredibly well researched and the presentation is excellent (it never gets boring!).”
-B. D., Health guru & CRP member
What’s included in the CRP program?
The program is huge, more than 13 hours of Powerpoint videos covering all aspects of circadian rhythms broken down in to 15 modules. These modules include:
0.1 Quickstart Guide to Optimizing your Circadian Rhythms
This module functions as a sort of overview of the program focusing on the 3 primary factors in helping to optimize your circadian rhythms. The purpose is to allow you to get started quickly by focusing on the factors that get you 80% of the way there. For a deeper understanding of each module as well as the science and more advanced concepts used to fit the program to your lifestyle, you’ll definitely want to watch the other modules to fine tune the program.
This module covers why circadian rhythms are important and the many conditions caused by circadian disruption. If you want a taste of the program, you can check out the portion dedicated to gut health here.
2. Light Exposure
Our master clock is set via light exposure, but it’s not simply about blocking blue light at night which most people are familiar with. In this module I cover the ins and outs of light exposure and how you can optimize your exposure to light to help set your sleep/wake cycle.
3. Feed, Fast, Feed Again
While our master clock is set by light, most of our peripheral clocks found throughout the body are regulated by the feeding/fasting cycle. But what constitutes breaking a fast, how long should we fast for, and when should we put this fast to optimize our health? In this blog I cover the precise details of setting up a feeding/fasting cycle that fits your lifestyle.
4. Get up, Get out, Move
3 of the most important factors for setting your circadian rhythms are light exposure, the feeding/fasting cycle, and physical activity. Most people don’t get enough physical activity, get it at the wrong times, and aren’t doing all of the proper kinds of movements. In this module we cover it all and help to understand why physical activity is a critical part of the equation in setting your circadian clocks.
5. Putting it All Together
In this module I take all of the information in the 4 previous modules and help you integrate that information so that you can set up your lifestyle to take advantage of the benefits of optimized circadian rhythms. For those of you in a rush or not interested in the deep science of the first 4 modules, you can hop right in here to get an early jump on the action.
6. Critical Nutrients for Setting your Circadian Clocks
Once we understand what circadian rhythms do and how they do it, we get a pretty clear picture of the critical pathways that help optimize circadian rhythms. Unfortunately, these pathways require nutrients that most people don’t get adequate amounts of. So even if you’re getting the proper light exposure, observing a proper feeding/fasting cycle, and getting adequate physical activity at the appropriate time, nutrient deficiencies leave those pathways dead to rights. While this module is the only one without a time component, it’s extremely important and discusses topics no one has touched…until now.
7. Prolonged Fasting and Circadian Rhythms
While a proper feeding/fasting cycle is q prerequisite to setting your clocks, prolonged fasting of more than 24 hours can be a useful adjunct to your feeding/fasting cycle. In this module I cover the benefits of prolonged fasting to developing strong circadian rhythms, how long you need to fast to get those benefits, and when the best time to start and stop your fast is.
8. Addressing Adrenal Dysfunction with Circadian Rhythms
Adrenal dysfunction is a condition where our stress response becomes dysregulated. It has a strong link to circadiand rhythms due to cortisol not only being an output of the clock, but also acting as a zeitgeber for nearly every clock in the body. Given this range of effects of cortisol, adrenal dysfunction can absolutely wreck your ability to set your circadian rhythms. In this module I show you how to approach circadian rhythms appropriately if you have adrenal dysfunction. This will not only give you the best chance to fix thyroid function, it will minimize how miserable the process is.
9. Creating the Proper Sleep Environment
Sleep is regulated by circadian rhythms. But that doesn’t mean that just because you play with light and the feeding/fasting cycle that you will immediately fix your sleep. There are a number of thing that people with sleep problems do wrong with regard to sleep hygiene. In this module I address these issues and give you the tools you need to correct the problems…and your sleep.
10. Increasing your Mitochondria with Exercise
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, responsible for creating >90% of the energy our body consumes. But our modern environment as well as the general process of aging reduces the number of mitochondria we have and the ones we have become dysfunctional. While fatigue likely comes to mind here, this also has a major effect on how our clocks work. In this module I cover using exercise to expand your pool of mitochondria and optimize the repair process so fewer of them are dysfunctional. I created a companion blog describing just how badly this can screw up your clocks. You can find this blog here.
11. Coffee 101
If you’re like me, you love you some coffee. But the fact of the matter is, caffeine has some pretty significant effects on physiology including modification of circadian rhythms and digestion. In this module I help you navigate the finer points of coffee consumption with particular focus on determining if coffee is right for you, how much coffee you should drink and when, and how to use coffee to your advantage in setting your circadian rhythms.
12. Skin Sun exposure and circadian rhythms
A lot of attention is paid to how light exposure to the eye helps set circadian rhythms, but a lot less attention is paid to how light exposure to the skin does the same. Most major health organizations around the World are waking up to the fact that the generation of vitamin D3 is only one of many factors that skin exposure to the Sun plays in regulating human physiology.
In this module I cover the importance of exposing your skin to the Sun to help set your circadian rhythms. I discuss why it’s not visible light you should be concerned with, how the Sun increases levels of a molecule necessary for circadian entrainment at the cellular level, and how different types of artificial light at night can throw many things off including the autonomic nervous system, detoxification, and inflammation.
Of course, the importance of the Sun doesn’t come without it’s risks, particularly skin cancer. However, proper exposure to the Sun not only lowers your risk of skin cancer, it lowers your risk of half a dozen other cancers, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and a number of gut problems. As with everything discussed in the program to date, timing is of the essence, and mistimed Sun exposure will ramp up your risk for skin cancer and disrupt your circadian rhythms.
And the best part is, on top of these excellent modules, once you’re in the program you get all updates as I add them! You also get access to the Stop Leaky Gut Challenge, which is a gut specific version of the Circadian Retraining Program that is more like a point and shoot program with less of the “hows” and “whys”.
In addition to all of this, there’s also a private facebook group where I can help you navigate the modules and tweak your circadian schedule to fit your lifestyle. I also share tricks and tips to help you along as well as basic information on the science so that you can understand the basic concepts of circadian rhythms.
How does it work?
Program membership is $197 and can be purchased via Paypal. Once you purchase the program and I receive payment, I’ll send you a link to the program and an invite to the private facebook group. That’s it, all updates are posted to that link so just make sure you save it. Why wait? Act now to take control of your life and become an active participant in your health today! Give that button a clickity click!