Wanting to sleep and to be awake is a natural phenomenon. Circadian Rhythm or otherwise called as body clock is the main reason behind this feeling. When you stay awake way too much, our body will naturally make us realize the need to sleep. Similarly, when you had enough night’s sleep it will wake you up in the morning.
But our present lifestyle and work greatly disturb this rhythm. Most of us work on shift basis, which demands us to sleep at different times in a day. This is totally determined by our shift timings.
What is the work of Circadian Rhythm?
Circadian Rhythm does the work of balancing and controlling Brain wave activity, Hormone production, cell regeneration, and other biological activities.
It will trigger the secretion of melatonin hormone during night times and helps us to sleep. The shift in day and night times are informed to the brain through our eyes. When there is less light on the outside, the circadian clock will inform the brain to increase the secretion of melatonin hormone.
In addition to this, circadian rhythm also does the work of inducing hunger when we burn off all the calories in our body, to use the stored calories when we are deprived of food, inducing sleep when the brain has less oxygen.
Change in Circadian Rhythm
This rhythm will alter itself to an extent depending up changes in our food and sleep habits.
For example, if you have the practice of having your lunch at 2 pm every day, it will make the stomach to secrete stomach acids exactly at this time and will make you feel hungry.
This rhythm will not change if you alter your lunch for a day and eat at 4 pm. But if you continue doing so, it will start to change and will make you hungry at 4 pm every day.
Factors that Affects Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm gets confused when you change your work timings way too often. Like working on day shifts for a week and immediately changing to night shifts the following week. As a result of this you may not be able to sleep when you want to sleep, you may not feel hungry when you want to have food, you may want to sleep during work, you may feel hungry during your sleep and many similar problems.
Other than that, this rhythm is affected by environment, seasonal changes, excess heat during summer, and sunlight. When you sleep in a room filled with light or sleeping at night while your TV is switched on, the light from external sources can enter your eyes and affect brain wave activity. This will influence the circadian rhythm.
Ways to Rectify
- Practicing to eat and sleep at fixed times every day. This should not be altered or postponed due to work or other reasons.
- Yoga, Meditation, and Pranayama should be included into the daily routine. This will increase the oxygen levels in the body and ensures deep sleep at night.
- Sleeping at noon should be avoided. If it’s really necessary, do not make it longer than 30 minutes.
- Have dinner 2 hours prior to your sleep. Avoid eating spicy and oily foods at night. Try to have foods that are easily digestible.
- People who work with computers for long hours may experience dryness in the eyes. This will affect their sleep at night. They should take little breaks during their works and exercise their eyes.