What Can Affect Your Circadian Rhythm


With all the conveniences of modern life, you would think our bodies would have evolved too. So it may come as a shock – with 24/7 access to work, shopping and entertainment – that humans continue to be governed by the same internal rhythms as most animals, birds and even plants. This is nothing new – our natural wiring is as old as time, and no Smartphone or snooze alarm can change that. We must keep this in mind in order to sleep well and awake refreshed. If you aren’t familiar with Circadian rhythm, now is a good time to understand your body’s organic rhythm’s alarm clock.

Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Cycles

The body’s “master clock,” our Circadian rhythm keeps us on a regular sleep and wake cycle, serving as our built-in timekeeper. This master clock resides in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, and receives signals from the eyes, which means that the light processed during the day/night cycle plays a key role how your body revitalizes.

What Can Affect Your Circadian Rhythm

Circadian rhythms are an essential factor in regulating your sleep and wake patterns, and impact your behavioral, physical and mental health. Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness, is controlled in part by this master clock in our brains. When we perceive darkness, the master clock is triggered to release melatonin. The longer we fight our natural sleep cycles, the greater impact it can have on our health and well-being. There are many factors that can affect your Circadian rhythm:

Chronic Sleep Disorders and Circadian Rhythms

When sleep disorders are left untreated, they can put you at risk of sleep rhythm syndromes including:

Adjusting your Circadian Rhythm

In many cases, simple life-style changes can help you adjust your Circadian rhythm back to normal. Practicing good sleep habits, such as limiting caffeine, television and smart phone activity before bed; exercising and maintaining a healthy weight; practicing light discipline (only allowing natural light to affect your sleep); and de-stressing can all contribute to a good night’s sleep for the long-term.

Sleep should be the most natural and restorative part of your life, but if you are experiencing problems with your sleep patterns or Circadian rhythm, it is important to get expert help. If sleep disorders are behind them, the experts at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan. Sleep is essential for your health – call Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today at (815) 477-7350 for a consultation or request an appointment online today for sweet dreams tomorrow.

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