What is the Infradian Rhythm?
You have probably heard about the infamous circadian rhythm before. In case you haven’t, it’s the 24-hour clock cycle which guides the structure of our days, our productivity and health routine. In fact, the circadian rhythm is the pattern that’s used throughout the world as a guide for most of our daily lives and activities. We have been told that embracing the circadian rhythm carries with it many health benefits, such as an increased immune system and a healthy gut.
Did you know that it’s actually men’s bodies who operate based on the circadian rhyhm? In fact, most of the studies our there, which measure the benefits of optimizing our circadian rhythms were mostly done on men. The majority of research on health and fitness has excluded women as subjects from their studies, due to the complicated nature of women’s bodies. So if you are a guy, good for you! The system is designed exactly for you and your health. If you are a lady though, don’t worry. We are not at a complete loss here.
Women’s bodies operate according to two biological clocks. We not only use the circadian rhythm, we also use something called the infradian rhythm. According to Alisa Vitti, the founder of the FLO living Hormone Center who is women’s hormone and functional nutrition expert, the infradian rhythm is just as or even more important to follow for women.
The infradian rhythm also operates in a cyclical manner like the circadian rhythm, however not based on the 24-hour period. It relates to women’s menstrual cycles which last anywhere between 26-32 days. Ever heard of the benefits of guiding your life and health according to the moon cycles? Well, this is a big reason behind it.
Vitti further explains how the infradian rhythm influences women’s metabolism. It speeds it up and slows it down during certain times of the cycle. It also affects women’s hormonal production. She argues that over 47% of women struggle with hormonal imbalances and 60% are sexually unsatisfied. Those are some staggering statistics, if you ask me.
So what can we do to fix this? According to Vitti, women need to optimize their infradian rhythm and treat it with the same importance as the circadian clock. It should guide our exercise, food, work and life choices in order to optimize our energy. Imagine knowing when to skip that HIIT workout or switch it for a gentle yoga flow or a walk to speed up your metabolism? Well, it’s actually what you should be doing. Although it sounds complicated, even a small change to honor your rhythm, can have amazing results.
To me personally, it makes a lot of sense. I know that I have hormonal imbalances. I also know that they have gotten out of control ever since my miscarriage. The reason I know that besides my intuition, is my 5th vital sign, my period. These imbalances can cause a lot of health complications down the road, if not addressed. If you are curious about your fifth vital sign and hormonal health, check out Alissa’s quiz below.
I hope that the world will soon adapt and understand operating according to the infradian rhythm. Up until last month I was skeptical about rapid changes enacted in our society, but that’s obviously, no longer an issue. Our world as we know it is capable of very rapid change. My only hope is that it’s for the better of our health and the environment, rather than for profit.