Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


The Circadian Rhythm

circadian rhythm

The Circadian Rhythm

circadian rhythm


So, you think you have been doing everything right. You’ve been eating a clean meat-based diet, you have been taking your gut-healing supplements, you have been trying to get your daily movement, and you have been prioritizing sleep, but you’re still stalling in your healing journey. What’s going on?


Silhouette of a woman Raising Hands Against a Sunset Light above the bridge


Diet and supplements are only part of the complexity of mechanisms defining optimal health. We could be eating the cleanest meat-based diet in the world, but if we ignore our biology and that our ancestors lived mostly outdoors, we might never get to a place of complete healing. Part of this past is our relationship to light, specifically sunlight.


It can be argued that humans didn’t start living in housing structures until about 400,000 years ago, and these were definitely not like the houses you live in today. For most of our ancestral history, we spent the bulk of our time outdoors, in all kinds of light and in all kinds of weather. You could say that we literally evolved with the sun. The sun alerted us when to wake in the morning and when to go to sleep at night; Helios certainly ruled our lives, and for many people, in less developed regions of the world, it still does.


But for the majority of people living in the developed world we have lost and subsequently forgotten our ancient relationship with the sun. This could be one of the many factors causing a decline in our health.


What is Circadian Biology?

Have you ever thought about maximizing your Circadian Biology? Circadian biology is based on the study of our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the way our physical bodies, brains, and activities follow the cycle of a day or 24 hour period. An example of this would be that most people are awake during daylight hours and asleep when it is dark outside. The study of circadian biology is an attempt to look at our circadian rhythms more holistically and determine how they influence organisms responding to differing levels of light and dark. If you’ve ever gone camping then you understand how the sun rules your days.


Waking up with the sun and heading to bed when it gets dark is the norm when you are spending your days outdoors. But we know our modern lives have taken a very different path from this rhythm.


Problems with Our Lifestyle

These days people wake long before sunrise and head to sleep many hours after sunset. To pile onto our Circadian dysfunction, we spend most of these hours pre-sunrise and post-sunset on electronic devices. We either look at our cellphones, binge-watch television, or surf our computers.


One of the big issues with these activities is that we expose ourselves to blue light, where it doesn’t exist in nature, and causing damage to our cells. Blue light is considered daytime light. It is the type of wavelength that is abundant during the day and informs us it is time to wake and be productive.


Black American male wearing an apron sitting inside a café with laptop and checking his cellphone while working


Most of us have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where the lack of sunlight, especially in winter months can trigger depression in otherwise healthy adults; some of us who live in more Northern climes have even experienced this ourselves. But becoming attuned to the natural rhythm of sunlight and our relationship to it, can provide numerous benefits to our physical health as well as our mental health.


Doctors throughout North America and Europe began prescribing sunlight to patients who developed Rickets, a deficiency of Vitamin D. Additionally, during this period, sunlight was becoming a well-known cure for Tuberculosis, and doctors created solariums to treat patients by spending the majority of their days in the sun.


Doctors began seeing patients recover from gout, diabetes, and wounds and then began making the connection between sunlight and autoimmune disorders.


Vitamin D deficiency has become ubiquitous around the world. We spend most of our time indoors. We are entirely clothed when outdoors (and we wear sunblock) and we aren’t producing adequate levels of Vitamin D. Read the article on why you may want to ditch sunblock.


Vitamin D plays a huge role in hormone regulation and production for both men and women. Vitamin D, or rather the lack of, impacts the level of testosterone in men and impacts female hormones, especially the thyroid and can affect fertility.


We can obtain Vitamin D through certain foods. I recommend eating lots of meat with fat soluble vitamins, like salmon and salmon roe. These do contain some Vitamin D, however trying to get the needed amount of Vitamin D through diet alone is a challenge and may not be enough.


Nutrition facts of a salmon roe


The best way to get Vitamin D is not through supplementation, but from, you guessed it, the sun. Our bodies have evolved making Vitamin D using the sun as the main source. Yes, there are a few foods that naturally have Vitamin D, but it is a challenge to get your needs met through diet alone. The sun is the best source.


Additionally, eating a meat-based diet will limit burning when out in the sun. People who eat a Standard American Diet tend to burn more than those who practice a Carnivore type diet. That doesn’t mean we can stay in the sun for hours and hours, we still must be mindful, but sensible sun exposure will likely not cause a burn.


I don’t recommend taking higher doses of vitamin D3/K2 daily as there are conflicting studies with vitamin D supplementation. You can learn more in a free mineral handout. You can also read more in Carnivore Cure.


How Can We Support Our Circadian Rhythm?

With all these immense benefits, how can we start living more attuned to our circadian biology?

  • If you wake in the morning before the sun is up, try limiting your electronics time.
  • If you do go on your computer, use blue light blocking glasses, or an app like Iris, to limit the amount of blue light exposure.
  • Additionally, going outside and getting morning light into your eyes, without sunglasses, will start your daily circadian rhythm, begin daily hormone production, and promote restful sleep at the end of your day. You need to only do this for a few minutes to receive the benefits.
  • The added benefit of getting morning sun as well is that if you choose to expose your body to the sun later in the day, in order to generate Vitamin D production, which I highly suggest, the morning sunlight actually preps your body to make Vitamin D and you will make more than if you did not go outside and get morning light.
  • Mid-day, during certain times of the year, you can go outside, wearing as little clothing as possible, and soak up the sun. There are some wonderful resources, like the D-Minder app, to tell you when your skin can make Vitamin D where you live.
  • If you are a worker from home, I suggest laying outside between 15–40 minutes a day, depending on your Fitzpatrick skin type, to get adequate amounts of sunlight for Vitamin D production. If you’re an office worker, perhaps taking a walk over your lunch hour, changing into shorts and rolling up your sleeves, to get sunlight and Vitamin D to work for you.
  • Please make sure you do these activities without sunglasses as well as our eyes have evolved to be dependent on the sun for health. In the evening you can go for a short walk around the block to get evening sun setting up your body for a good night’s rest, just a few minutes, again without sunglasses, is plenty for alerting your brain that the day is winding down.
  • Once the sun is down, blue light blocking glasses should be used when engaging with electronics, or better yet, turn off all electronics and read a book or play a board game or do a puzzle with friends and family.


Couple with a laptop wearing pajama and blue light glasses having a movie marathon in bed


Remember when a tan was considered healthy?

Well, it still is. When your skin tans, it is a protective mechanism allowing you to spend more time in the sun without your skin burning, which is considered harmful.


If you decide to devote more time to sun therapy, remember not to wear sunglasses as they limit the sun’s ability to help promote eye health and impede hormone production and be sure not to wear sunscreen.


Sunscreen has many harmful chemicals and can actually promote the most harmful type of skin cancer, melanoma. It is much better to stay outside for a limited period of time, produce Vitamin D, and generate your own protection, through tanning. Then you can begin to stay out in the sun for more time.


Silhouette of 5 kids having fun at a beach during summer


The benefits of our relationship with the sun are numerous, and ignoring this relationship will be at our peril.


The sun can and should be used as part of your healing protocol. It is just as important as diet, exercise, and sleep.


We should prioritize our connection to the sun and if we do, then we reap the benefits.


Adding sun therapy to your protocol is simple and likely will improve your life.


Remember we are here to support you in your healing journey and if you have questions about sun exposure or how to implement it into your life, we can help.


DISCLAIMER: The content is for educational purposes only. While I am board-certified in holistic nutrition and a nutritional therapy practitioner, I am not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always first consult with your trusted practitioner.

Nutrition with Judy


  • Beekay
    January 16, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    I agree that the sun is very beneficial, however the evolutionary theme is not in line with God’s Word and is therefore inappropriate for a Christian blog.

    Good advice though!

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