Your Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful
A lack of sleep due to an overloaded calendar, e-mail, web surfing and TV is taking a toll on your health! The physiological functions of virtually all organisms are governed by 24-hour circadian rhythms. This type of lifestyle leads to learning disabilities and a whole host of chronic health problems. Your circadian system “drives” the biological activity at the cellular level so disruptions can cascade outward throughout your entire body.A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci Click To Tweet
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. Sleep affects different parts of your brain by the release of certain neurotransmitters. This part of your brain is known as the hippocampus. It must react in order for the things you learn to organize 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 the inability to retain new information.
- Learning Performance – Better sleep enhances performance and learning.
- Weight gain/loss – Research has indicated that lack of sleep affects levels of metabolic hormones that regulate hunger. When you are sleep deprived, your body decreases the production of leptin. This hormone 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 also exists 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 boosts your immune system.
- Cancer risk – Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body. This slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer. When your circadian rhythm is off, your body may produce less melatonin and may have less ability to fight cancer.
Stress is Created by Inconsistent Circadian Cycle
Poor sleeping habits also tend 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. Then certain brain centers react, which alters your brain chemistry.
A Natural Rhythm to Light Exposure
Part of living in sync with your natural circadian rhythm is to have 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
The best way to keep your circadian clock functioning is to make sure you are getting the necessary amount of high-quality sleep. It should be 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 many ways.
For further info on sleep check out For A Good Nights Sleep Here Are 20 Facts.
I am Shirley Noah, I teach the 30 Easy Ways to Relax and Reduce Stress.
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