Thursday, June 20, 2013

Discover The Connection Between The Circadian Rhythm and Insomnia

day and night clock
Many people suffering from insomnia spend their lives looking for a cure without ever realizing that the reason behind their disorder may hide in their Circadian Rhythm.

What Is The Circadian Rhythm

The Circadian Rhythm is represented by the physical and behavioral changes that occur daily. This 24 hour cycle is controlled by our biological clock and is responsible for things like sleep patterns, hormone production, body temperature and others (I only named these 2 because they are directly linked to insomnia).

What Influences Your Circadian Rhythm

Perhaps the most important influences on your Circadian Rhythm come from sunlight and physical activity.

The amount of sunlight you are exposed to and your levels of activity regulate hormone production and body temperature. This is what makes the human specie designed to be active during the day and inactive at night (at least that is how it's supposed to be).

The Connection Between The Circadian Rhythm and Insomnia

Melatonin

One of the most important signals that sunlight gives to your body is to produce or to reduce the amounts of the hormone Melatonin. This hormone is responsible for putting you to sleep and keeping you that way. So the higher the amount of Melatonin you have the sleepier you will feel. Obviously, people who suffer from insomnia have low levels of this so called vampire hormone (because its only produced in darkness)

The Circadian Rhythm is responsible for the pattern of Melatonin synthesis, and as we mentioned sunlight affects your Circadian Rhythm. This happens by reducing the Melatonin levels whenever you are exposed to sunlight and increasing them whenever you are in a dark place. So if you want to keep your rhythm in tact and sleep good, you better make sure your room is dark enough. Even the slightest lights can interrupt the production of Melatonin.

circadian rhythm diagram


Body Temperature

Contrary to what most people believe, the human body doesn't stay at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit all day long. In fact, the Circadian Rhythm represents a number of peaks and drops in your body's temperature. These changes are usually within 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit and are determined from sunlight (once again), room temperature and from physical activity.

What does that have to do with insomnia? Well you are designed to go to sleep in one of those low body temperature periods, and normally they occur during the night and at noon when its time for a nap. Remember- the lower your temperature gets the better you will sleep.

The weird thing about this is that the higher temperatures you reach during the peak periods, the lower you will get during the cold periods. Therefore, you need to aim mostly at doing things that will increase your temperature at the periods of 9-12 AM and 4-8 PM. And yes this means you need to exercise! I would suggest a light session of walking or jogging in the morning (just to get you warmed-up), and a full 30-45 minute workout in the evening.

While it is not as important as reaching a high temperature peak, it also pays to cool your room before going to sleep. This will obviously help you reach a lower body temperature. Of course don't take things too far, I don't want you to catch a flu!

Conclusion

Now that you know how the Circadian Rhythm works and how it is connected to insomnia, you can use the tips I gave you to tune your own rhythm in a way that will get you back to being a fully functional, insomnia-free human being.

And if  this is not enough I invite you to read my posts about the 5 herbs that cure insomnia and Alteril- the natural insomnia remedy you have been waiting for.

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