What is your circadian rhythm?
Do you know what your circadian rhythm or your biological clock is?
No? I promise this blog post is going to be eye-opening for some of you!
Every one of us has a biological clock which means that our body always has a feeling when it should be awake and when it should sleep. This is influenced by different things:
- release of different hormones at different times (Adenosine, for example, which is a sleep-pressure hormone).
All of those things are like a chain of reactions that help you become tired at the appropriate moment. You go to sleep, wake up and are full of energy.
Interestingly enough, most of us have a circadian rhythm where our day would be a bit longer than 24 hours. On average, it would be 24 1/2. What is interesting about this is that a lot of us do not live in synchronicity with our circadian rhythm, which is what would make us the happiest because it would let us go to sleep when we're naturally tired, and to naturally wake up when we're done sleeping.
A lot of us would naturally be tired around 9 PM, and we'd get up super early around 6 AM or even 5 AM, after a great night's sleep and wouldn't be a big issue.
But, as it is, most of us are working, we want to spend some time in the evening with our partners, our kids or just for ourselves. And in the morning, even though we would most likely naturally sleep a little longer, we can't because of social obligations like work or going to school, or having kids going to school. A lot of us live in a clash between what we naturally do with our biological clock and our social obligations or our social wishes. For most, it's horrible! There is always a bit of jet lag. We recuperate a little on the weekend here and there, or we go to bed earlier on some nights, and we sort of manage.
But some people suffer from a condition called "delayed circadian rhythm". Their biological clock just kicks in a couple of hours later than for most of us. Their whole sleep process, their sleep pressure naturally starts around midnight, 1-2 AM, which is when they would get tired and go to sleep, and if we'd let them, they'd just sleep until noon. The problem with this is that if you have a regular job or a "normal life", that's very difficult. So, those people live in chronic jet lag. (Have a look at this blog post)
If you suffer from "delayed circadian rhythm", there are different things that you can do:
- You can work with light therapy and you can work with melatonin in this case. Don't forget melatonin is not a sleeping aid! It's just to help your body get ready for sleep. So, for circadian rhythms, it works.
- You can adjust your caffeine intake a bit.
- There are therapies that can help with that. For anything else though, you have to stick to a very strict sleep schedule. Check out this blog post for more tips.
If you are someone like that, you're not weird, you're not strange. It's a known sleep disorder, but unfortunately, it's not talked about that often, and because there aren't too many people suffering from it there aren't many solutions out there either. I promised I would do a course on circadian rhythm and it's coming up this year (2020).
please do get in touch.
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