General

What is Circadian Rhythm And How To Regulate It?

Have you ever heard of circadian rhythm? Do you know what it is and why do people talk about the importance of its regulation? Why is there a hype about sleep inducing supplements such as sleep inducing Melatonin Gummies, Magnesium supplements, lavender, GABA, and valerian supplements? I will explain this to you in this article.

All around us we see that naturally occurring objects follow a routine. The sun rises and sets daily within 24 hours, the tides of an ocean rise and fall, the seasons change, and the moon changes its phases in a month. Similarly, our earth also follows a fixed path where it revolves around the sun in 365 days.

The animals and plants also show changes within the 24 hour lapse. They respond to the surroundings around them.

A question arises, what about the human body? Has it been granted free will or it has a fixed routine? 

Our body and our brain follow a strict routine regulated through biochemicals, ions and neurotransmitters. Since old times it is advised to follow a routine, that is wake up early, have proper  diet at the right time, and to sleep adequately. Sleeping till late hours or  staying up till late night disturbs the regulation of biochemicals and neurotransmitters. 

The naturally occurring 24 hour clock is important for the functioning of your body as it is a natural process that influences the overall health.

What is Circadian Rhythm?

The 24-hour cycle that influences our behaviour, mental and physical                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         health is known as circadian rhythm. It is primarily under the effect of light and dark cycles. Chronobiology is the branch of biology in which we study circadian rhythm, the factors that influence circadian rhythm, and how it affects your body, 

What are the Consequences of Disturbed Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is essential for the body’s functioning, so it is vital to maintain. If it is disturbed, our body has to bear short and long term consequences

  • Disturbed circadian rhythm causes a temporary impairment in memory as it disturbs the mind and body coordination.
  • An individual may feel sluggish as energy flow from cells and stored fats is disturbed.
  • A person may react impulsively and get anger issues. It is also linked to abrupt mood changes.
  • The changes in biochemical release timings disturb the metabolism in all the cells of the body.
  • The movement of the gastrointestinal system is disturbed, leading to nausea, frequent loose motions and vomitings.
  • Increases blood pressure, and risk for diabetes. It may have serious consequences on the heart.
  • Increases the risk of obesity and sleeping disorders.

What are the Factors that Influence Circadian Rhythms?

Circadian rhythms are affected by your body as well as the environment. The factors are listed below:

  • Genetic Factors:

Proteins regulate the day-night sensor system of our body and they are coded by particular specific genes known as the Period and cryptochrome genes. These genes activate feelings of alertness, wakefulness, and sleepiness.

  • Changes in Light-Dark Cycle:

Working in shifts may require you to stay awake all night. Working in night shifts for longer hours affect the circadian rhythm. Another reason for distubed light-dark cycles is jet-lag- that is the body is not synchronized with the shift in time zone.

  • Excessive Use of Screens at Night:

The light emitting from electronic devices imbalance the light-dark detection system of the body, hence using electronic devices in the dark has more consequences then eye damage. 

  • Age: 

Age is an important factor to influence circadian rhythms of the body. Babies, teens, and old-age adults all have different circadian rhythms. 

  • Physical Activity and Lifestyle Choices:

If you choose to sleep or stay up till late hours of the day, you will mess up your body clock system. Physical activity sends the signals for entertainment to the brain hence, it affects the sleep-wake schedule of the body.

How does the Circadian Rhythm Work? 

The system behind the working of biological clocks is complex. Here we are presenting a simplified concept for your ease.

  • Role of Hormones:

Melatonin and cortisol are the hormones responsible for sleepiness and wakefulness in the body. Melatonin releases from the body as night begins and its levels decline as the sun rises. The level of cortisol surges as the sun rises. 

  • Role of Cells:

The Period and cryptochrome genes are present in the cells where they set the detectors for sensing light signals. The eyes detect light and alert the brain. The brain sends signals to the rest of the body to become alert or 

rest depending on the environment. 

  • Role of Body Temperature:

Body’s fluctuating  internal temperature helps regulate the circadian rhythms. 

What are the Symptoms of Disturbed Circadian Rhythm?

  • Tiredness throughout the day.
  • Impaired cognition and loss of memory
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Insomnia 
  • Emotional instability and frequent mood swings
  • Increase in weight
  • Uncontrolled hypertension and blood sugar levels. 

How to Regulate Circadian Rhythms?

  • Set a Schedule: 

Waking up and sleeping at the same time everyday. The practice helps to regulate the 

body’s circadian rhythm.

  • Sun Exposure: 

Experts advise to expose yourself daily to sun, especially early in the morning as it helps to reset the circadian rhythm of the body.

  • Watch Your Diet:

Avoid foods that contain caffeine, high amounts of carbohydrate and sugar, and alcohol as they disrupt the good night sleep. 

  • Dim the Lights:

Set the environment and dim the lights as it sends sleeping signals to the brain. It is necessary to put away electronic devices if you intend to sleep peacefully. 

  • Use of Hormonal Supplements:

Melatonin gummies are helpful in regulating circadian rhythms as they regulate sleep-wake schedule. Gummies from olly gummies, Gummies Garden and Herbaland are quite effective.

  • Visit Your Doctor:

If lifestyle changes and maintaining a schedule are not enough and you are experiencing the issue for a long time you should discuss the problem with your doctor.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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