Staying healthy; listen to your Circadian Rhythms


Ever noticed that our bodies work in rhythms? Every system of our body requires certain routines to for staying healthy. Over eating and less intake of water disturb digestion, suffocated environments affect respiration and stresses and sleeplessness disrupt nervous system.

We need to supply our bodies a balance of fuels for staying healthy like balanced diet, enough air and required light. Yes, light too affects the working of our bodies! A working that depends upon right exposure to light according to the movement of the sun and that is called Circadian Rhythm.

Circadian rhythms are found in almost all living organisms including humans, plants and even microbes. They can be termed as physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. The frequencies of these rhythms mainly depend upon intensity of light in the respective organism’s ecosystem.

These rhythms ensure balance in different bodily functions and cycles that are needed for staying healthy. Feeling sleepy at night and waking up in the morning is an example of light-responsive activity of our bodies.

Our biological clocks produce circadian rhythms and regulate their timings. These clocks are composed of particular molecules, made of proteins that interact with different cells in our bodies. Researchers have found similar genes and proteins across different species like fruit flies, bread mold and plants.

These biological clocks are all connected to a master clock that consists of a group of nerve cells. Around 20,000 neurons form a part of the brain called SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) which works as a master circadian pacemaker. This mechanism of biological clocks, all interconnected with master clock for maintaining circadian rhythms is meant for certain balances in our bodies.

Circadian rhythms influence sleep-wake cycles, eating habits, body temperature, hormone release and other crucial bodily functions. Slow or fast, biological clocks affect master clock that ultimately produces disrupted circadian rhythms. This may result in certain disorders like insomnia, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal effective disorder.

The daylight is the key influencer on these rhythms. Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns. Our body’s master clock (SCN) produces a hormone called melatonin which makes us sleepy. Our body produces this hormone at night for peaceful sleep and exposure to bright and blue lights reduces its production. It ultimately affects our sleep orders.

For maintaining our sleep routines according to our body’s demands, we need to sleep after sun set and wake up with sun rise, but most of us are devoid of it. Our sleep and wake up routines are governed either by our jobs or business or by our own wills.

This way we push our bodies to unnatural routines of sleeping that ends up on many diseases and health risks mentioned above. Just take a review of your daily routines and analyze how much you are catering to our bodies’ natural needs for staying healthy. Are you responding to the tick tocks of your biological clocks or pushing your bodies for an anti clock mechanism?

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