Circadian Rhythm, Sleep and Your Health

August 18, 2017

sleep hygiene tipsA circadian rhythm is any change in the body that follows a 24 hour cycle responding to changes in light and temperature. These changes can be physical, mental or behavioral. There is a group of nerve cells, the suprachiasmatic nucleus/SCN, in the brain that serves as the control system for this rhythm. The SCN controls the production of melatonin which is a hormone that promotes sleep. When there is less light, the SCN sends the signal to produce more melatonin. This is one of the reasons why sleep hygiene is important.

Basic Sleep Hygiene Tips

  1. Avoid watching TV an hour before bed, switch to reading and if using an electronic reader, make sure it’s on Night Time Mode.
  2. Remove TVs and other electronics from the bedroom.
  3. Dim the lights for the hour before bed
  4. Having a warm bath before bed can help you become sleepy as your temperature drops afterwards.

Circadian rhythms control the sleep cycle, hormonal release and body temperature. Abnormal rhythms can be associated with dysfunction in the body including weight gain, depression, and Diabetes among other things.

Shift work, jet lag, and irregular schedules can cause circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Symptoms can include sleep loss, excessive sleepiness, insomnia, depression, stress, and more.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Children and teenagers need more. People can become confused between the amount of sleep they need to make it through the day and the amount of sleep they need to function at their best. If you are getting less than eight hours of sleep per night it is likely that you are sleep deprived. Symptoms can include fatigue, lack of motivation, irritability, inability to cope with stress, frequent colds or infections, weight gain, problems with concentration and memory.

Many people today suffer from some type of sleep disturbance. You can talk to your doctor about ways to help normalize your sleep and reset your circadian rhythm.

Posted in Health and Wellness by Wholeness Center | Tags: , ,