I’ve recently had a number of clients who have illustrated for me the importance of having a good daily routine. In one case, a client found that an endocrine issue for which they had been receiving acupuncture and herbal care got even better results when a good sleep routine was added in to their treatment protocol. In another case, it was clear to me that a client’s persistent insomnia troubles were likely related to the time at which they were trying to go to sleep. In other clients, I’ve seen problems that were likely being caused and/or made worse by eating at the wrong times (which were then cascading into all sorts of other chronic health problems). While it may be impossible for us to have a “perfect” daily routine all the time, it can be enormously helpful to understand the importance of a basic daily routine, what that looks like and why.
Why is a daily routine so important? The main thing to understand about having a somewhat stable daily routine is that it follows and supports the natural cycling of our endocrine and nervous systems. Sleep is one place we can see this play out so clearly: In the evening (around 7-9pm and onward) our melatonin levels begin to rise, which help us feel sleepy and help us wind down for the evening and (hopefully) get us headed to bed for a good night’s sleep. Conversely, in the morning (a little before sunrise) our cortisol levels (and blood pressure) begin to rise naturally to motivate us to get up and greet the day. When we miss the chance to “ride the waves” these hormones provide us, we will often find we are struggling to either fall asleep, get a restful sleep or have an energetic morning. We are going “against the flow” as it were.
In a similar vein, our digestive system is also running on daily rhythmic cycles. A healthy person usually gets hungry about three times a day -which, in a healthy person, should occur in the morning, midday and early evening. A healthy hunger is generated by a cascade of hormones and physiological processes that we do well to honor. The biggest benefit of eating when we are naturally hungry (at the proper times of day) is that our digestive capacity is enhanced -as our natural hunger signals that all the biological chemical cascades are in place to receive and process food. No matter what/how one eats (Weston Price, Paleo, vegan, GAPS, Macrobiotic, etc), good digestion is a MUST in order for our bodies to even make use of our food. Eating regularly also helps us Pitta types avoid the dangers of being “Hangry”, which results from low blood sugar and can cause all sorts of things like Road Rage and general crankiness!
Pooping, which is the MOST IMPORTANT detox function of the body (aside from peeing), also generally happens early in the morning. It is also controlled by the hormones and nervous system and should be encouraged. It is generally a good practice to not eat the new day’s meal until one had had a bowel movement. This is greatly aided by drinking a large glass of warm water first thing in the morning. (Generally, it is only necessary to have one complete bowel movement per day. Pooping after every meal is possibly the sign of an overly active digestive system that is not “holding” food long enough to fully process it).
What is a good daily routine?
Sleep: Try to get to bed/sleep between 9:00-10:00pm. Do not burn the midnight oil!
Wake: Wake 30-60 minutes before sunrise (the time will shift throughout the year). Earlier is better for most people.
Poop: shortly after waking (preferably sometime between 6:00 and 8:00am)
Eat: Breakfast: 7:30-9:30 Lunch: 11:30am-1:30pm Dinner: before 7:30pm
If we can try to stick to these general guidelines (for which our bodies are naturally programmed!) we will find ourselves feeling more energetic and healthy.
Below is a great video from one of my teachers, Dr. Scott Blossom, that discusses this topic with some additional info that I didn’t include above:
Disclaimer: the information contained in this blog article is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. It is intended for use by Vivian Linden’s clients who have been assessed in her practice. Consult your healthcare practitioner and use at your own risk.