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Circadian Rhythm – The body’s clock

Just like the sun’s 24-hour movement around the earth our body also has a 24-hour cycle called as Circadian Rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the body’s “internal clock” that tells us when to eat, sleep and wake up.
A part of brain’s hypothalamus controls our circadian rhythm which in turn is guided by factors such as sunlight and temperature. When it’s dark at night our eyes send a signal to the hypothalamus that it’s time to feel tired. Our brain then sends a signals the body to release melatonin, which makes us sleepy and the opposite occurs during the day when light signals suppress melatonin production.

Circadian rhythm guides our body to let it know when to sleep and when to be awake. If the same is not functioning properly it can affect sleep, body temperature, hormones, appetite, and other body functions.

When circadian rhythm is not functioning optimally it may lead to obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Tips to reset the body clock to rest:

  • Expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning after waking up for at least 15 minutes
  • Regulate you meal times. Never miss your breakfast and try having an early dinner.
  • Exercise daily preferable at the same time. Not only it is good for health but it also helps in sleeping better at night.
  • Limit use of electronics before bed. Start dimming lights about two hours before bedtime and resist scrolling through social media in bed.
  • Develop a regular sleep-wake cycles. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help keep your body’s internal clock in check.

 


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