Understanding your Circadian Rhythm – No it’s not an Insect!

The circadian rhythm is also know as the ‘body clock,’ or the ’24 hour clock.’ It’s a daily rhythm that controls all of us. It’s mainly control by light and darkness.

Most importantly, our circadian rhythm controls our sleeping habits. We naturally feel sleepy when darkness falls and awaken when it becomes light in the morning.

At least, that’s how it should work.

Many things in our modern way of life have impacted this natural cycle. Artificial light, alarm clocks and shift work all play a part. In the old days, before electricity, people used to fall asleep as dusk fell and wake up naturally in the morning, as the the first rays of dawn filtered into our homes.

I’m not suggesting we return to those days. It would be completely impractical to go to bed as soon as it gets dark, or wake up at the crack of dawn, just because it’s light. We have our timetables we have to stick to. Our work hours, school times and even our social lives wouldn’t fit in with this concept 🙂

What we can do, if we’re having trouble sleeping is to make sure our bedrooms are completely dark when we do go to bed. Any artificial light, such as that emitted by a digital clock, can keep us awake, or impact the quality of our sleep. If light is filtering through the bedroom window, from a street light, or even the moon, make sure you have heavy blinds or curtains that stop this.

If you like to read in bed, make sure it’s not on a back-lit electronic device. Don’t watch TV or play on your phone right up until bedtime. These electronic devices all emit ‘blue light’ which lowers the levels of melatonin in our brain. This tends to make us feel wide awake.

Just avoiding these simple acts can allow you to fall asleep faster and enjoy a better quality of sleep.

Sweet dreams!

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