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Know all about your circadian rhythm, and why you need to put it in place before it’s too late

Published on:7 April 2021, 13:40pm IST
The circadian rhythm is deeply connected with your sleep-and-wake cycle. It has the power to determine how stressful or relaxed your day will be.
Grace Bains
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chrono chardy
You need to fix your circadian rhythm to stay healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Ever felt your body clock being thrown off track due to that deadline that keeps you up all night long? Some even fear their sleep cycle getting disturbed, because god knows how long it takes to build a sleep routine again. Sleep is, after all, extremely important for our body, because it allows us to rest and recuperate, both physically and mentally.

Think of your body as a machine! Just like a machine needs to be shut off for some time for it to be completely productive, even your body needs to rest in order for you to function properly. In fact, you might have noticed not getting enough sleep leaves you irritable, diminishes focus and even affects appetite. It basically sets your body clock off a proper routine, and this ends up interfering with your whole day. So, where does the circadian rhythm figure in this?

First of all, we need to know what the circadian rhythm is.

What does circadian rhythm mean?

The term ‘circadian’ comes from the Latin phrase ‘circa diem’, which means ‘around a day.’  Circadian rhythm refers to the 24-hour body clock that regulates our sleep and wake cycle by responding to changes in light.

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A proper circadian rhythm allows your brain to stay alert throughout the day and cater to your daily tasks. While at night, your brain starts to feel naturally sleepy, sending you the signal that it is time to rest.

What happens when the circadian rhythm is not in place?

By now, you already probably realise that sleeping is absolutely necessary for the body to function properly. When your circadian rhythm is not in place, you will not be able to get enough rest, and this interferes in the functioning of other systems of the body.

A disturbed sleeping cycle can lead to severe sleeping issues that can keep you away from sleeping on time and then waking up on time, affecting your daily routine. Not only does it affect how long you sleep for but also the quality of sleep which might be fragmented.

The thing is that this will lead to more than just a couple of late check-ins at work. In fact, it can have some serious repercussions for your health, such as:

1. Mental health

When your circadian rhythm is not in place and you’re not able to get quality rest, it can have a negative impact on your mental well-being, particularly your mood. According to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, your circadian rhythm has a deep impact on mood management. Hence, if your circadian rhythm is disrupted, then you might experience negative moods such as irritability and frustration.

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Just being physically strong isn’t enough; you also need mental strength. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Metabolic health

You need a strong and healthy metabolism not only to regulate body weight but also to ensure you can keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels healthy.

However, a research published on PubMed Central noted that if your circadian rhythm is disturbed, it can have a significant impact on your metabolism and may even lead to metabolic syndrome, which is basically a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure.

3. Sleep regulation

As mentioned before, circadian rhythm is very closely related to your sleep cycle. Hence, when it’s not in place and you don’t take active steps to fix it, it can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. In the long term, these can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to rest and recuperate.

circadian rhythm
Sleep helps your heart to stay younger. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So, ladies, ensure you take care of your sleep-and-wake cycle to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.