It’s something you do (or at least, try to do) every day, and yet is something most of us don’t think too much about. On average, you will spend about one third of your life tucked up in bed sleeping, or at least trying to sleep.
This might sound like a lot, but sleep is super important for your body. While you sleep, your body is hard at work processing, restoring and strengthening; repairing; and improving memory and immunity.
For some people, sleep is an elusive luxury. Getting to sleep, or staying asleep can be more of a challenge than it should be. This can have something to do with “Circadian Rhythm” which influences almost all aspects of physiology.
What is Circadian Rhythm?
Circadian Rhythm is your internal “body clock”, controlled by a part of the brain called the Hypothalamus. It regulates internal systems within the context of your external environment, predominantly in reference to the regular succession of night and day.
Why does Circadian Rhythm matter?
Circadian Rhythm influences a number of different bodily functions, including hormone levels, eating habits and digestion, body temperature, mood and of course, sleep-wake cycles. This sleep-wake cycle is what helps you fall sleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.
How does Circadian Rhythm get out of sync?
Circadian Rhythm is inherently linked with external stimuli. If those stimuli are misaligned with what your internal clock expects, they can get out of time and can start negatively affecting all the physiological functions they influence. Factors such as stress, diet, blue light, meditation, light pollution, shift work, exercise and substance use all influence Circadian Rhythm.
Jetlag is a good example of what can happen when your Circadian Rhythm is out of sync. Say you cross time zones to a place that is 2 hours ahead of your normal time zone. When you wake up at 7am, your internal clock still thinks it is 5am, despite what the actual clock says, so you’ll feel as though you’ve woken up at 5am.
Check out these 5 tips to help get your Circadian Rhythm back on track!