Circadian Rhythm and Sleep: All You Need to Know

Sleep is a biological function affected by various factors from both within and outside our bodies. Your sleeping pattern may often vary, and you may find yourself awake at a time when you are usually asleep. All of this is due to a biological feature known as your circadian rhythm.

Here is a brief summary of all you need to know about circadian rhythm and how it affects sleep.

What is the Circadian Rhythm?

The circadian rhythm, also known as the internal clock, is an internal biological feature related to time and functions in living organisms. The word Circadian is derived from the Latin phrase ‘circa diem’, which means ‘around a day’. Therefore, it aims to regulate biological functions over 24 hours. 

To put this into perspective, your circadian rhythm is what allows you to be awake during the daytime and sleep at night. It is through the circadian rhythm that the sleep-wake cycle comes into being.  Also, patterns of cell regeneration, appetite, and hormone production are often associated with circadian rhythm.   

How Does Circadian Rhythm Work?

The circadian rhythms are connected to the circadian pacemaker—master clock—found within the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). SCN contains clock genes that regulate the body’s activity by sending signals at different times of the day.

In addition, SCN is very sensitive to light. This implies that the signals sent by the SCN to help coordinate internal clocks in the body’s functions are influenced by light. In other words, the circadian rhythms are connected to day and night.

How Does Circadian Rhythm Affect Sleep?

The connection between the circadian rhythms and light is what forges the sleep-wake cycle. During the day, the master clock gets exposed to light. As a result, signals are sent that help generate alertness, thus keeping you awake. However, at night, a chemical substance called melatonin is produced by the master clock. This is the hormone that promotes sleep—thus keeping you asleep at night. 

What Can Interfere with Circadian Rhythm?

Certain disorders arise due to the disruption of the circadian rhythm. Such disorders include:

Jet Lag disorder: This disorder derives its name from the experience of people who take intercontinental flights. Crossing multiple time zones can interfere with sleep because the circadian rhythm tends to notice a change in the day-night cycle. Therefore, until you acclimate to a new location, you are likely to suffer from the jet lag disorder.

Shift work disorder: Sleep schedules are often interfered with by having to work during sleeping hours. Therefore, your work may put you at odds with the daylight hours, thus disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Non-24 hour sleep-wake disorder: This can be attributed to blind people who cannot receive light for their circadian rhythms. Although they operate on a 24-hour cycle, their sleeping patterns tend to shift backwards by minutes or hours.

Delayed Sleep Phase disorder: occurs due to staying up late in the night and sleeping in late in the morning. It is common among teens, but the exact cause tends to be associated with genetics, behavior, or underlying physical conditions.

How Can You Maintain a Healthy Circadian Rhythm? 

Healthy sleep allows you to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. This means that you have full control over your circadian rhythm. The following are some activities you ought to undertake to achieve this:

  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule
  • Exercise daily
  • Minimize the amount of light you are exposed to before bed

Interruptions while sleeping tend to affect your sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, it is imperative to consider a good mattress. With a good mattress, you are assured of having a good night’s sleep, which denotes a healthy circadian rhythm. Contact BR mattress today for solutions to mattresses that can help you avoid sleeping disorders.

Take Survey

Take Survey

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
1. What is your preferred sleeping position? *
Blog Take Survey

Blog Take Survey

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
1. What is your preferred sleeping position? *