Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

 Your Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

As you probably know, the physiological functions of virtually all organisms are governed by 24-hour circadian rhythms.  The modern, round-the-clock lifestyle, made possible by electric lighting, could disrupt your circadian rhythm  and interfere with leaning abilities.  Your lack of sleep due to an over loaded calendar, e-mail, web surfing and TV could take a toll on your health whether you realize it or not.  This is a  surefire way to dysregulate your circadian rhythm.  This can contribute to a whole host of chronic health problems, since your circadian system “drives” the biological activity at the cellular level.  Disruptions can cascade outward throughout your entire body.

Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm

Disrupted Sleep Patterns Can Impact Your Health

Your circadian clock influences :

Short term memory-Your circadian clock controls your daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness by alternately inhibiting  and exciting different parts of your brain through regulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.  This part of your brain is known as the hippocampus. This must be excited in order for the things you learn to be organized in such a way that you’ll remember them later. If your internal clock isn’t functioning properly, it causes the release of too much GABA.  Excess GABA can lead to short term memory loss and inability to retain new information.

Learning Performance-Better sleep enhances performance and learning.

Weight gain/loss- Previous research has indicated that lack of sleep affects levels of metabolic hormones that regulate satiety and hunger.  When you are sleep deprived, your body has decreased production of leptin.  This hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food.  At the same time, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

Diabetes and heart disease risk-Too little and too much sleep may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.    A similar pattern has also been observed in the relationship between sleep and coronary heart disease.

Immune System– Research has found that when you are well-rested you will most likely have a stronger immune system to respond to viruses.  You release certain hormones during sleep that is responsible for boosting your immune system.

Cancer risk– Disruption of your circadian clock may influence cancer through changes in hormones like melatonin.  Your brain makes melatonin during sleep, and it known to suppress tumor development.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer.  When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body may produce less melatonin and therefore may have less ability to fight cancer.

Stress is Created by Inconsistent Circadian Cycle

Making matters worse, poor sleeping habits also tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone. When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.  Your muscles tense, your digestive processes stop, and certain brain centers are triggered,  which alters your brain chemistry.

A Natural Rhythm to Light Exposure

A part of living in sync with your natural circadian rhythm is to have consistent, regular exposure to light during the day and sleeping in absolute darkness at night.  This will help optimize your natural melatonin production.

Use Your Circadian Rhythm for Optimal Health

Regardless of your age, the best way to keep your circadian clock functioning properly is to make sure you are getting the necessary amount of high quality sleep, during those hours when your body expects to be sleeping.

It is important to realize that even if you do everything else right-eat nutritious meals, exercise, manage stress-if you aren’t getting high-quality sleep your health is bound to suffer in numerous ways.

For further info on sleep check out For A Good Nights Sleep Here Are 20 Facts.

I am Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

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