Once upon a time, we humans all lived in agreement with nature’s seasonal cycles. Today? Less.

When we fail to make seasonally appropriate adjustments, both our mental and physical health suffer.

So in this installment of The Living Experiment, we explain natural fluctuations your body experiences in keeping with the cycles of winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Dallas shares examples from his science-based model for eating, moving, and sleeping in accordance with the seasons (the inspiration for his forthcoming book!), and Pilar constitutes a case for adopting nature’s ebb-and-flow patterns — instead of accepting the nonstop madness of modern-day culture.

As always, we summary with experiments you can run in your daily life.

Oscillation Benefits

  • In our last column, “Pause,” we discussed how all things in nature (including our bodies) are operating in recurring, oscillating cycles. This fluctuation occurs not just hour by hour and day by day, but also season by season.
  • Over millions of years as hunter-gatherers, our human bodies developed DNA-encoded expectations and instructions according to seasonal patterns of dark and light, warmth and cold, activity and rest. But contemporary life often ignores these oscillating cycles in favor of an “always the same” experience.
  • Thanks to electricity, artificial temperature controls, industrialized food systems, and standardized daily schedules, our life in winter isn’t all that different from our life in summer. We’ve learned to believe that operating this way is more productive, comfortable, and convenient; in fact, it stresses our bodies, resulting in exhaustion, metabolic disturbance, inflammation, and system breakdown.

Seasonal Instructions

  • Aligning with the seasons starts with under­standing that every of them has unique qualities, mostly driven by shifting cycles of sunshine and dark. Each season also offers specific biochemical, metabolic, and psycho-emotional implications.
  • Listening to your appetites and inclinations and watching what is naturally available and available in your local environments are great methods for getting into better sync with the seasons.
  • During summer (longer days, shorter nights, plenty of sunlight), we tend to crave more raw veggies and fruits, which are naturally more abundant. We're more inclined toward longer-duration outdoor activities (like running, hiking, and biking). We have a tendency to need less sleep and also to be more social.
  • During winter (shorter days, longer nights, less sunlight), our bodies desire heavier foods, full of animal proteins and fat. We are inclined toward shorter-duration and indoor activities (like sprinting and weightlifting). We require more sleep for recovery and repair, and that we tend toward more inward reflection.

Right-Now Wisdom

  • Each season presents its very own opportunities for healthy adjustments. Get a quick overview from Dallas’s Seasonal Model of Health, available as a downloadable PDF.
  • For more in-depth information on each of the seasons, listen to the “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn,” and “Winter” episodes of The Living Experiment, all obtainable in the archives at www.livingexperiment.com.


Pilar suggests:
Awaiting the coming season, consider one easy, appealing change that you could begin making in your food, activity, or sleep program to bring it more in agreement with nature-based cycles.

Dallas suggests:
Assess whether your current activity program syncs well together with your current dietary plan and sleep patterns. Search for potential seasonal mismatches. For example, are you currently eating a winterlike, low-carb paleo diet but doing a lot of summerlike endurance activities (or the other way around)? Are you exercising as if it's winter but sleeping as though it's summer? Make a season-guided shift and spot how your results change.