Does Circadian Rhythm Really Affect Your Well-Being?
By Kym Gordon Moore
Have you heard people mention that if they do not get eight hours of sleep, they cannot function or may end up grumpy during the day? Can pulling all-nighters really have an effect on your internal biological clock? Do we naturally respond differently to night and day, as well as light and darkness? When our bodies are distracted by the irregularity in the natural beat of our circadian rhythm, we are literally setting ourselves up for a systematic malfunction.
A number of external influences such as day, night, temperature, stress and hunger can affect our internal body clock. Mental, physical and behavioral changes typically follow a 24-hour biological process. Circadian rhythm or sometimes referred as our built-in biological time clock is actually a person’s life cycle or biorhythms. Chronobiology is the study of circadian rhythm. Biorhythms are defined by emotional, physical and intellectual measurements that affect mood, behavior and overall well-being.
When our natural order of functioning is interrupted, we find that our eating habits, body and overall health can become off-balance, and thus interrupt the natural flow and pattern of functioning day-to-day. The theory that our body responds to a natural 24-hour cycle of operation, which is akin to that of plants, animals and our planet, responds to an instinctive daily evolution and rhythm.
Conclusions based on scientific research reveal that fluctuations or disruptions in our physiological development affect the physical and mental health of our entire body. Evidence of this can be seen through sleep deprivation or sleeping disorders. The natural order of our body’s circadian rhythm tells us when it needs rest, when to rise or sleep, opens us up to an alertness of our surroundings and how to respond to it.
Creativity, intellect, heart rate, our physical performance and body temperature are affected by our natural rhythms. Interruption in our circadian rhythm can affect learning, our metabolism and memory. A shift in environmental irregularity, as experienced by individuals working at night, can add to additional challenges in our overall well-being. Individuals are less focused during off-peak times. By living closer in alignment with your circadian rhythm, you could very well experience better health and improved quality of life.