Circadian Rhythm

Diagram By NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk  ✉   fixed by Addicted04 - Wikipedia

Diagram By NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk fixed by Addicted04 - Wikipedia

Circa-about   dia- day

These are our natural rhythms that repeat in about a 24 hour day.  These are vital for our health and are able to get out of sync – just think of jet lag.  Our circadian rhythm is reset every day – this is called entrainment.  To reset we need bright light in the morning to signal the production of serotonin, and we need dimming light and darkness at night for the production of melatonin.  Both light and darkness are essential for a healthy circadian rhythm.

So many aspect of our lives are regulated by our circadian rhythm, our sleep, mental functioning, emotions, state of mind and many aspects of our immune system and health. 

How can we adjust and improve this essential part of our biology?  Bright light in the morning upon waking, being outside in daylight for at least 20 minutes a day preferably around noon time when the sun is the brightest, exercise, a shift in indoor lighting in the evening to a softer yellower light and avoiding the blue light from electronics for at least 1 hour before bedtime.  Sleeping in total darkness is also important and getting 8 hours of sleep a night, our ancestors before electricity got 10 hours. 

Some current research is suggesting that healthy sleep and a healthy circadian rhythm is an important factor in preventing many of the disease that plague us, heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Night Shift Enabled

When I recently allowed a software upgrade on my iPhone I receive this message:  "Night Shift When enabled, Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location, then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum and may even help you get a better night’s sleep."  Apple understands the importance of not having blue light in the evening which inhibits melatonin production.  I would add a bit more to this message if you are wanting a good night's sleep- don't use your phones or computers at least 1 hour before you are wanting to sleep.  Not only will the blue light effect your sleep, the stimulation of your brain in using these devices can keep you awake.

Bright Light To Begin The Day

I have been reading several articles about the importance of bright light (especially natural light or light with clear blue tones) in the morning to begin our day and aid in serotonin production.  Serotonin is our feel good hormone that helps us to feel energized.  The importance of this light in the morning is that it can help to reset our internal time clock as well as be a great natural boost of energy.  This morning I was reading a blog that I follow, Alzheimer's Reading Room, the author found that when caring for his mother the day went better with several morning rituals.  One of those being:  "I led her to the kitchen and sat her at the table where she could get some bright light".  Doing this he found her day went better and she seemed more content and happier.   I love it when experience supports science and science supports experience!