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How to Optimize Your Circadian Rhythm for Overall Health

Tired of feeling tired? Learn how to optimize your circadian rhythm for better focus and overall health.

Tania Sultana
By Tania Sultana
Jovan Mijailovic
Edited by Jovan Mijailovic

Published June 20, 2024.

A man sleeping in a dark room to optimize his circadian rhythm.

Our natural circadian rhythms, the internal clocks that govern our sleep-wake cycles and bodily functions like digestion, have become dangerously disrupted in today's always-on society.

Constant exposure to artificial light, irregular sleep schedules, and the incessant pings of electronic devices make us live discordant lives that are out of sync with the body's innate 24-hour cycle.

But we can try simple adjustments to optimize it. Below, we'll go over some of the most effective ways.

» Optimize your circadian rhythm by syncing your wearable with InsideTracker and tracking sleep patterns

Why is our circadian rhythm important?

When isolated from external stimuli, we exhibit self-sustained 24-hour cycles in behavior, physiology, and metabolism. Circadian rhythms can also influence our hormone release and body temperature. [1]

» Learn expert tips to regulate your hormones and reclaim your sleep

The suprachiasmatic nucleus in our hypothalamus generates this internal clock. When disrupted for extended periods, it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and neurological conditions like Alzheimer's. [2,3]

Factors that can cause a sudden change include gene mutations, jet lag, and shift work. In the long term, age can also affect our circadian rhythm, which reaches its peak during adolescence and gradually shifts back as we age.

Did you know?

Other than mammals, circadian rhythm is also present in insects, plants, and even among bacteria.

Tips to improve your circadian rhythm

It's possible to adjust or reset one's circadian rhythm through various strategies, such as:

Sun exposure

Light is the vital external factor controlling the body’s circadian rhythm, keeping it in sync with the earth’s natural 24-hour cycle.

Looking at blue light-sensitive periods of the day—two hours before bed—suppresses melatonin production. [4] To fall and stay asleep, you should ideally get sunlight in the morning and limit screen time.

» If you're struggling to get enough sun exposure, discover how vitamin D improves sleep


Darkness triggers melatonin production in the pineal gland, a pea-sized structure in the brain. [5] This hormone doesn't directly cause sleep, but it helps nudge your body towards a state of sleepiness. Some people use melatonin supplements are often used to address sleep problems. [6]

» Just like melatonin, learn how mangesium can impact your sleep by promoting relaxation

Meal timing and diet

By establishing consistent meal times, we can synchronize peripheral circadian rhythms through fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This means creating a predictable schedule for your body to anticipate food intake.

» Learn more about the impact of blood sugar on physiology

Here are some practical tips for using meal timing to optimize your circadian rhythm:

  • Fasting followed by consistent mealtimes: Implement a regular eating window and stick to it as much as possible. This helps regulate your body's natural rhythm for food intake and digestion.
  • Avoiding heavy meals late at night: Digestion can disrupt sleep, so prioritize lighter dinners with a focus on easily digestible foods. Opt for meals lower in fat and protein closer to bedtime.
  • Breakfast (within 2 hours of waking): Focus on lean protein and low-sugar fruits like berries for sustained energy.
  • Lunch (midday): Include lean protein and complex carbohydrates like whole grains or vegetables to provide energy for the afternoon.
  • Dinner (before 8 pm): Aim for an earlier dinner to allow for proper digestion before sleep. Choose meals rich in fiber and low in saturated fat for a lighter and more sleep-promoting effect.

Note: Setting a new circadian rhythm can take some time, and the duration can vary from person to person. It's recommended to make gradual changes, such as shifting your bedtime in half-hour increments, over several days or weeks.

» Looking for more strategies to optimize sleep and metabolism? Try circadian rhythm fasting

Listen to your body's rhythm for a vibrant life

In our modern, 24/7 world with its constant stimuli and obligations, maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm can be challenging. But, small changes to your daily routines can go a long way towards optimizing your internal clock.

The human body has finely-tuned itself over millennia of rising and setting with the sun. Tuning back into those cycles may be just what modern society needs to recharge, revitalize, and reclaim the natural vitality. The power to feel your best is within your control—all you have to do is listen to the wise rhythms of your body's eternal clock.

Disclaimer: InsideTracker doesn't diagnose or treat medical conditions. Consult your physician for any health concerns.

» Start optimizing your circadian rhythm by selecting the "sleep" goal in the app after purchasing the insideTracker Ultimate plan


[1] S. Reddy, V. Reddy, and S. Sharma, “Physiology, circadian rhythm,” StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf, May 01, 2023. Available:

[2] R. G. Foster, “Sleep, circadian rhythms and health,” Interface Focus, vol. 10, no. 3, p. 20190098, Apr. 2020, doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2019.0098. Available:

[3] V. A. Baidoo and K. L. Knutson, “Associations between circadian disruption and cardiometabolic disease risk: A review,” Obesity, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 615–624, Feb. 2023, doi: 10.1002/oby.23666. Available:

[4] K. Drumheller and C.-W. Fan, “Unprecedented times and uncertain connections: A systematic review examining sleep problems and screentime during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sleep Epidemiology, vol. 2, p. 100029, Dec. 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.sleepe.2022.100029. Available:

[5] A. M. S. R, “Melatonin, the hormone of darkness: From sleep promotion to Ebola treatment,” Brain Disorders & Therapy, vol. 04, no. 01, Jan. 2015, doi: 10.4172/2168-975x.1000151. Available:

[6] C. Baglioni et al., “A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Evaluating the Evidence Base of Melatonin, Light Exposure, Exercise, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Patients with Insomnia Disorder,” Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 1949, Jun. 2020, doi: 10.3390/jcm9061949. Available: