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What Is The Circadian Rhythm And How Does It Work

What Is The Circadian Rhythm And How Does It Work

Isn't it interesting how our sleep and wake cycle perfectly syncs with the sun and the moon? Just like the earth, the body has an internal clock that runs on a 24-hour cycle.

The reason why we feel sleepy and awake all comes down to the circadian rhythm. Sometimes referred to as the ‘body clock,’ a sound understanding of the circadian rhythm can help you transform your health, your sleep cycle, and allow you to wake up without hitting snooze.

While we all want to achieve perfect sleep to wake up without the drama of sleeping in, sleep plays a much bigger role than just giving us energy. Sleep is one of the most vital functions of your body.

Healthy sleep plays a significant role in boosting immunity, weight control, regulating blood sugar and cholesterol, and improving mental health. That’s why it’s so important.

Learning about how the circadian rhythm works is one of the best ways to optimize health and wellbeing.

How The Circadian Rhythm Works

How The Circadian Rhythm Works

You can think of your circadian rhythm like a stopwatch, which indicates when an activity should start and stop. So far, we have covered that the circadian rhythm will trigger your body and mind to feel alert or sleepy.

Interestingly, the circadian rhythm doesn’t just work hard for your sleep cycle, but also for organs. The ‘body clock’ sends signals to vital organs when it's time for them to rest or kick into action. As a result, all the body functions are able to work together in a perfect schedule. The circadian rhythm contributes to successful digestion, cell regeneration, hormonal development, and much more.

So you get the point. It's essential - but how do you know how to protect it? It helps to know some of the common factors that can impact the circadian rhythm.

What Can Impact The Circadian Rhythm

There's a long list of things that can force the circadian rhythm to get confused. While many of these factors are unavoidable, it’s good to be aware of them so you’re in a good position to make quick lifestyle adjustments to reverse the impact and get your body clock back on track.

Here are some of the most common factors that impact quality circadian rhythm cycles:

  • Jet lag
  • Working late at night
  • Excessive stress
  • Medication
  • Binge drinking
  • Inconsistent sleep routine
  • Frequent travel

You can control some factors, such as binge drinking and sleep routine, but other causes need a little more consideration. For example, if you are taking certain medications that keep you awake, it may help to consult a doctor to find the best way to get your circadian rhythm back in sync with your lifestyle.

How To Get Back On Track

How To Get Back On Track

If you are convinced that your body clock is not working as well as it could, you can try these fixes tonight to get back on track again:

  • Stick to the same sleep routine for at least two weeks: change takes time so allow your body to ease back into a sleep routine for at least 14 days.
  • Ensure you're comfortable: falling asleep fast is essential when you want to adjust your body clock. You can fall asleep faster when you sleep on the best mattress.
  • Limit naps: when you nap too close to bedtime, it confuses the body clock. As a rule, avoid napping after 3 pm, so you have a full 8 hours to get tired before bedtime.
  • Get natural light in the morning: natural light boosts wakefulness, so catching rays first thing in the morning helps sync the body clock.
  • Sleep in complete darkness: similarly, night time tells the body that it’s time to sleep, therefore avoiding bright lights when it’s bedtime to prepare for deep rest.

A healthy sleep-wake will deliver holistic benefits for general wellbeing. Understanding how the sleep cycle and circadian rhythms function will allow you to customize your routine, so you’re always able to perform at your best.



Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.



Certified Sleep Science Coach

Written by Monica Chinsami, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Monica is a writer who is passionate about the connection between wellness and sleep. She believes sleep has the power to unlock our greatest potential for health and happiness. Topics she's covered range from well-being, to the latest trends in sleep health and bedroom aesthetics. Monica holds a BA in Journalism from Monash University and is a Certified Sleep Science Coach.