Circadian Rhythms: Our Biological Clock
Does my body really know when it's time to "sleep"?
The short answer is yes! Our body reacts to light and dark and produce a hormone called melatonin. This hormone allows our body to "charge down" and begin to get sleepy once the light dims at the end of the day.
Check out the infographic below that explains how the circadian cycle affects different aspects of our health:
As you can see, there are different times throughout the day that different parts of our health are affected. We are sharper during the late morning and early evening as compared to when the sun sets and we begin our "throttle down" as the melatonin sets in and makes us drowsy.
How do circadian rhythms affect my health?
Perhaps the most important thing is sleep. When melatonin is released and makes the body sleepy or drowsy, it's because our body is telling us it needs resting and healing. It's time for us to start listening to our body's internal clock! Things to consider to help your circadian rhythm:
Turn off electronic devices at least one hour before bed. The light from the screen or device can stimulate our body into thinking there is more daylight left in the day, when in reality it is dark and likely past your bed time.
Avoid eating snacks after dinner (supper). Allow enough time for your body to digest food between your last meal and when you fall asleep.
Go to bed at the same time every night. Developing a consistent sleep pattern helps your circadian cycle predict more accurately when melatonin needs to be released.
Risk Factors of an Inconsistent Circadian Rhythm
As you can see, our body is extremely intelligent and can help set us up for optimal performance throughout the day based on our "biological clock". Try the tips above to increase your sleep schedule and give your body the rest it deserves!
Thanks for tuning into our Monday Motivation! If you have any questions for Dr. Vig or want to learn more about how you can improve your sleep cycle, don't hesitate to contact us!