How Circadian Rhythms Affect Your Sleep

Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm may help you fall asleep. It can also keep you from sleeping in too long.

There’s a biological reason why humans are generally awake during the day and asleep at night. One factor that influences your sleep-wake cycle is known as a circadian rhythm. It works in combination with our homeostatic sleep drive to help control when you are awake and asleep. When discussing circadian rhythm many will refer to it as our day night rhythm. It helps us stay awake during the day and allows our homeostatic sleep drive to push us into falling asleep and takes over to keep us asleep till morning comes. If your body’s clock is off, you’re more likely to have trouble sleeping or sleep in too late. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm – but it’s a good idea to know how these rhythms work first!

How Do Circadian Rhythms Work?

Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that tell you whether you should be awake or asleep. During the day, light makes your body’s clock keep you alert and awake. At night, it then helps your body produce melatonin to make you fall asleep and stay asleep until morning. This balance is crucial to keeping you active during the day and getting the rest you need at night! Without it, your body and mind can be negatively affected.

How Do Circadian Rhythms Affect My Body and Mind?

Your circadian rhythm also helps your body and mind work at their best. It helps keep your hunger levels and body temperature normal. It even plays a big role in how much you grow! Your rhythm can also directly affect your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This can then lead to swings in your hunger and metabolism throughout the day. Your circadian rhythms can also affect your mental health. Studies have linked circadian rhythm disorders to psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety in children and adolescents.

What Can Disrupt My Body’s Clock?

While your rhythm is usually set, there are many different factors that can disrupt it. There are short term factors like jet lag from coming back from vacation in a different time zone. These can directly affect your circadian rhythm and sleep quality. Long term factors are typically related to patterns of behavior like nightly video gaming or social media browsing until midnight or later resulting in delayed bedtimes. This can sometimes result in “sleep types”, the most common being “morning larks” and “night owls”. If you’re a morning lark, you typically go to bed early and wake up even earlier. But, if you’re a night owl (also known as delayed sleep phase disorder), you go to bed late and wake up late as well. These can often lead to a poorer, more fragmented style of sleep every night.

How Do I Fix My Body’s Clock?

It’s possible to correct your circadian rhythms and establish good sleep habits. Be sure to get plenty of exposure to sunlight every day – and get plenty of exercise while you’re out there too! You should also do your best to avoid caffeine altogether. But if you do drink it, avoid it after noon, to keep your body’s clock fresh. If you need to take a nap, take it early and keep it short to avoid throwing off your sleep schedule. And one of the most important things you can do is avoid using your phone before bed! Keep it in another room if necessary – don’t expose yourself to white light before going to bed.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on the path to a great night’s sleep every night!