Creating a Space Aligned with Your Circadian Rhythm

Being mindful of your internal clock can make a big difference.

(Dan76 /

Did you know that with just a few basic adjustments, your home can become a place that promotes your health and wellbeing? According to mindbodygreen, it’s all about the light. Exposure to light or darkness has an important effect on wellness and on how you feel throughout the day. And keeping that in mind when designing and updating your home can have a huge impact.

The circadian rhythm
Your circadian rhythm, which is another way of saying “your internal clock”, is the sleep-wake pattern tracked over the course of 24 hours, Healthline reports. Most living beings have circadian rhythms that are powered by light and darkness. Your brain gets environmental signals that activate some of your hormones. Those hormones alter body temperature and regulate your metabolism which then tells you whether to stay alert or start winding down for sleep. 

Your habits and lifestyle can therefore be affecting this natural rhythm in your body. According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, the development of the circadian system commences in-utero and continues to develop throughout the first years of a child’s life. Once a child is a toddler, their circadian rhythm and other body functions will usually be regulated and stabilized, with several developmental changes occurring during the adolescent years, according to a news release from The University of Pittsburgh

Changes in your circadian rhythm
Sometimes an adult, whose circadian rhythm should be mostly stable and regular, can experience lifestyle changes that clash with their internal clock. Some examples of these are overnight or work shifts with unpredictable hours, lots of travel to places with different time zones, a lifestyle that includes late nights or early wake times, health conditions, certain medications, and general poor sleep hygiene.

mindbodygreen recommends that you start to practice better sleep hygiene, get outdoors as much as you can and make sure you are exposed to natural light on a regular basis. In addition there are changes that you can be making in your home that can help you regulate your circadian rhythm, even for those who work night shifts.

Adapting your home
For starters, the easiest thing to do in your home is to make sure there is lots of natural sunlight. Windows are your best friend. And for the times when the sun is too bright and warm, Balanced Architecture recommends installing translucent shades instead of the standard opaque curtains. This way, the heat and glare will be mitigated while you will still be able to take in the natural sun rays. Another tip they give is choosing light colored wall paint like pastel colors, white and cream, which allow the sunlight to reflect off the wall and naturally brighten up your space. 

The same is true with light colored furniture. And lastly, try to avoid blue light at night. This includes screens such as your phone, computer screen and TV, which ruin your circadian rhythm. You can choose to buy blue light-filtering glasses if you are working on your computer or perhaps avoid your devices altogether if that is an option that works for you. So however you choose to go about it, in your home and out of it, during the day and at work, keep your circadian rhythm in mind and enjoy some “fun with the sun”. 

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