The Impact of Circadian Rhythms to Our Health

  • We slowly deteriorate our health whenever we disrupt the natural cycle of our circadian rhythm. It becomes disrupted with every late nights, irregular meal times, and using our phones in the middle of the night.
  • Extreme circadian instability is what happens when we do not take care of our internal clock. It often leads to a bunch of chronic health problems such as impaired immune function, obesity, and some forms of cancer.
  • The key to reduce the risk of health problems, stability is needed.
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The Circadian Rhythm
  • The circadian rhythm is what we call our body's masterclock. It is the timekeeper of the body which keeps the cells in our body running smoothly, helps fights against chronic diseases and assists us into having a peaceful night of sleep.
  • Our circadian rhythm is dependent on our daily routines and diet that keeps us mindful of our health.
  • Our masterclock can be found in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the hypothalamus. It is what controls the functioning of each bodily process.

Healthy circadian rhythms rely on regularity and stability— for the timing of light, the timing of exercise, and the timing of meals.

Our bodies are accustomed to the exposure of light and darkness on a regular basis. The circadian rhythm is reset on a daily basis and it is the one that determines the healthiness of our cellular health and sleeping patterns.

When you lack sleep, not only does your circadian rhythm go out of sync but it also further exacerbates difficulties with attention span, mood swings, and changes in memory.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your circadian instability:

  1. Minimize the number of your night shifts
  2. Have the same sleep-wake schedule whether you're at home or during the workdays
  3. Get some sunlight after waking up to cue in your biological clock and raise alertness levels.
  • It is essentially hard to keep track of a routine during times like these; screen time has risen more than usual, meals are often late, and a lot of midnights snacking.
  • By practicing mindfulness it's easier to keep track of day-to-day habits. Mindfulness helps us by guiding us into making a choice on taking better care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Practice mindfulness through breathing exercises or meditation. Recognize your thoughts and listen to what your body says.

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RELATED IDEAS

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

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Why We Sleep

While even experts haven’t reached a consensus explanation for why we sleep, numerous indicators support the view that it serves an essential biological function.

In adults, a lack of sleep has been associated with a wide range of negative health consequences including cardiovascular problems, a weakened immune system, higher risk of obesity and type II diabetes, impaired thinking and memory, and mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

The internal clock

All individuals possess what is called 'an internal clock', which has as main purpose to schedule sleep and wakefulness within one entire day of 24 hours.

Now comes the difference in regards to how the 'clock' works for each person: there are people who wake up earlier and go to bed earlier as well - for them the cycle is shorter and there are also people who, on the other hand wake up later and go to sleep later. It all depends, in fact, on what is known as 'zeitgebers', which translates by external signals necessary in order to synchronize the 'clock'.

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