The importance of circadian rhythms?
We should be familiar with the idea that humans have a daily rhythm that follows a similar pattern to the yearly solar year. These biological moments follow an ebb and flow- called circadian rhythms – essential for our health and wellbeing. Learning what these patterns are and what they mean will allow you to make better decisions around your lifestyle.
There are two principal types of rhythm, which I will be looking at – the one based mainly on light and the one based chiefly on dark. You are more likely to emphasize your sleep patterns based on the first type. We naturally get sleepy in the evenings/night and then awake naturally in the morning. And the second type works in an opposite manner, where we instinctively go to sleep later at night and then wake up late in the morning.
These rhythms are responsible for keeping human beings on track with their lives. They’re at work when we’re sleeping and when we feel tired. They’re also at work when we don’t see daylight, such as a mineshaft or a deep space mission where clouds or the ocean blocks out the sun.
Circadian rhythms are essential for good health and wellbeing. They provide the building blocks for all the other functions of our body. As we’ll see later, they regulate what we do when we sleep and what we do during the day.
Since there are already billions of neurons in your brain, maintaining healthy sleep is a crucial part of your life. Your need for sleep depends on what changes occur within this rhythm.
Signals from the body that cause a change in circadian rhythm can be environmental. For example, nighttime work hours, solar radical, timed exogenous light signals (sunlight, artificial light). They can also be internal such as stress levels and immune function.
• Circadian rhythms regulate sleep-wake cycles, which affect mood and cognitive functions.
• Circadian rhythms regulate food intake, hunger, thirst. If you are awake for too long, the food you eat will not be adequately digested and will create more stress.
• Circadian rhythms regulate hormone production and secretion such as cortisol, melatonin.
•Circadian Rhythm Decline With Age
With age, there is a decline in the amplitude of circadian rhythm, which affects many aspects of health, including immunity, hormone production, and metabolism.
This decline in circadian rhythm is a natural outcome of how we have evolved as a species. As we get older, our bodies can’t produce as much melatonin; this hormone encourages sleepiness and works against insomnia.
I am currently fascinated by sleep. I feel I don’t get enough restful sleep time during my research into ways to sleep better and feel more energised. I came across the concept of chronotypes, which is simply a fancy new way to talk about circadian rhythms. I followed up and got led to this page where you can take a chronotype test.
I discovered I am an early bear, this led me to buy the book “The Power Of When.”
Which I am now reading, I would love to hear what kind of animal you are and your thoughts on the book. As always, leave your thoughts, comments, and questions in the comments section below.
Until next time, keep on keeping on,