Harmonize Fitness
menu
Harmonize Fitness
Sleep

The circadian rhythm…circadian what?

DSC_0181

You may have heard about the importance of having a sleep schedule or at least trying to go to sleep around the same time every night, this is true and the positive impact it has in your life is amazing, the reason for this is the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm plays an important role on the quality and quantity of our sleep, if the circadian rhythm is out of sync for any reason then it will impact negatively our sleep, this can by just for one night but if this turns into a habit it can have huge negative consequences in the long run.

We are supposed to follow nature´s clock what I mean with this is that we´re supposed to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun goes up. Our body has an internal clock and most of its functions go according to that internal clock, this has to do with the production of melatonin to fall asleep, increasing cortisol at certain hours.

Nature works in a cycle of 24 hours, a cycle of day and night, during day we get light from the sun and at night it´s dark. Our body also works in the same 24 hours period, or at least it tries. This 24-hour cycle has a lot to do with our sleep-wake cycle the same way the sun rises and sets every day. This cycle also contributes to hours of sleep when hour body is recovering, growing and eliminating toxics and hours of alertness during the day when we´re supposed to have all the energy and focus to live as best as possible.

During this cycle there are so many things going on in our body like producing melatonin, body temperature fluctuates, the hormones also have fluctuations.

We need melatonin to fall asleep which is produced when the sun starts to set and as the lights go down if we keep working on our computer or laptop or checking our phone until late night our body won´t produce melatonin which is one of the reasons why we can´t fall asleep and we don´t get high quality sleep. When it´s dark our eyes send a signal to our brain that it´s time to rest so our body produces melatonin to fall asleep.

Cortisol is an important hormone and it´s higher in the morning and it decreases throughout the day. Just as cortisol there are other hormones like insulin, leptin, ghrelin that plays an important role on our health and they´re all impacted by this internal clock called the circadian rhythm.

When we´re out of zync with natures clock it affects negatively our body, and this includes our brain and it affects also our health physical and mental.

This circadian rhythm may be affected by lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, when we go to sleep late at night around midnight like many of us do and we want to fall asleep fast just minutes after turning off the computer or checking emails which is impossible for our body. Not having a sleep schedule and sleep routine also affects negatively this internal clock. Outside factors like light from electric devices, sounds, temperature they all have an impact on how our body and brain get the right signals to either fall asleep or wake up.

Even when it seems like we can get ahead of this internal clock this is not true, our internal clock is affected by our environment being the cycles of day and light the most important ones because this circadian rhythm that is located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus receives direct information from the eyes.

So, if we want to feel great and maintain optimal health, we need to make sure that everything is functioning as best as possible and making sure that the circadian rhythm is in sync is key.

A simple step we can take to make sure that the circadian rhythm is sync is to mimic our environment, try to turn off the lights and electric devices when the sun goes down, if this is hard because of school or work then using amber glasses is a great option. When you wake up get some light exposure from the sun.

Let us know if you knew about this internal clock and how it impacts our body and health by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebbok account.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam