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Learn how good circadian rhythms contribute to the health of a pregnancy, and what this can mean across the lifespan for the baby.

Summary Notes:

  • The circadian rhythm controls what happens when

  • Via genes, the circadian rhythm controls the creation of sperm, eggs, sex hormones, puberty and overall fertility1

  • Mitochondrial health depends on a healthy circadian rhythm to balance pro-oxidative and antioxidant forces (redox) in pregnancy2

  • Redox balance allows sperm creation, egg creation, and implantation to complete3

  • Melatonin, controlled by the circadian rhythm, plays a major role in balancing redox as well as fertility4

  • Any free person can access a lifestyle that nurtures their circadian rhythm

  • The placenta connects the baby to its mother’s circadian rhythm in utero5

  • Placental health requires high melatonin6

  • Melatonin itself is a powerful endogenous—ie, made by the body—antioxidant that protects health of both mother and baby in pregnancy7

  • Melatonin climbs throughout pregnancy and peaks at the time of birth8

  • There is a synergy between melatonin and oxytocin in the uterus9

  • Oxytocin vs pitocin

  • Endogenous melatonin vs synthetic melatonin

  • Natural boost of melatonin: tryptophan-rich food —> sunshine —> darkness

  • Over the counter melatonin is unreliable because the dose is highly variable despite what label says10

  • Real life “Easter egg”: I recorded this workshop from my gazebo and at this point in the recording my chickens 🐔and rooster 🐓 swarmed me… I later found out a bear was stalking them! 🐻 rawr!

  • It takes about 20 years for new research to get into clinical guidelines

  • Light is the most important factor in regulating the circadian rhythm

  • Lifelong health conditions are related to the circadian programming received in the early life beginning in the womb11

  • Sleep quality, another effect of the circadian rhythm, is correlated with all forms of mental health across the lifespan12

  • Circadian systems have multiple modes per day (ie, sleep/wake)

  • A zeitgeber is a “time-giver” that directly affects the circadian rhythm13

  • There are primary (also called “self-sufficient”) and secondary zeitgebers

  • Primary zeitgebers—for humans, that’s light/temperature and meal timing—directly affect the biological circadian clocks

  • Secondary zeitgebers (ie, social cues) support or detract from the effects of the primary zeitgebers

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Sciarra, F., Franceschini, E., Campolo, F., Gianfrilli, D., Pallotti, F., Paoli, D., Isidori, A. M., & Venneri, M. A. (2020). Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: A Crucial Factor in the Etiology of Infertility. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(11), 3943.


Toboła-Wróbel, K., Pietryga, M., Dydowicz, P., Napierała, M., Brązert, J., & Florek, E. (2020). Association of Oxidative Stress on Pregnancy. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2020, 6398520.


Almansa-Ordonez, A., Bellido, R., Vassena, R., Barragan, M., & Zambelli, F. (2020). Oxidative Stress in Reproduction: A Mitochondrial Perspective. Biology, 9(9), 269.


Yong, W., Ma, H., Na, M., Gao, T., Zhang, Y., Hao, L., Yu, H., Yang, H., & Deng, X. (2021). Roles of melatonin in the field of reproductive medicine. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 144, 112001.


Wong, S. D., Wright, K. P., Jr, Spencer, R. L., Vetter, C., Hicks, L. M., Jenni, O. G., & LeBourgeois, M. K. (2022). Development of the circadian system in early life: maternal and environmental factors. Journal of physiological anthropology, 41(1), 22.


Chuffa, L. G. A., Lupi, L. A., Cucielo, M. S., Silveira, H. S., Reiter, R. J., & Seiva, F. R. F. (2019). Melatonin Promotes Uterine and Placental Health: Potential Molecular Mechanisms. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(1), 300.


Langston-Cox, A., Marshall, S. A., Lu, D., Palmer, K. R., & Wallace, E. M. (2021). Melatonin for the Management of Preeclampsia: A Review. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(3), 376.


Reiter, R. J., Tan, D. X., Korkmaz, A., & Rosales-Corral, S. A. (2014). Melatonin and stable circadian rhythms optimize maternal, placental and fetal physiology. Human reproduction update, 20(2), 293–307.


Olcese, J., & Beesley, S. (2014). Clinical significance of melatonin receptors in the human myometrium. Fertility and sterility, 102(2), 329–335.


Erland, L. A., & Saxena, P. K. (2017). Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 13(2), 275–281.


Hsu, C. N., & Tain, Y. L. (2020). Light and Circadian Signaling Pathway in Pregnancy: Programming of Adult Health and Disease. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(6), 2232.


Alachkar, A., Lee, J., Asthana, K., Vakil Monfared, R., Chen, J., Alhassen, S., Samad, M., Wood, M., Mayer, E. A., & Baldi, P. (2022). The hidden link between circadian entropy and mental health disorders. Translational psychiatry, 12(1), 281.


Roenneberg, T., & Merrow, M. (2007). Entrainment of the human circadian clock. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology, 72, 293–299.

Brighter Days, Darker Nights
Brighter Days, Darker Nights
Nikko Kennedy, CLD, BS