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Insomnia? Why Your Circadian Rhythm is Important

So you’re having trouble sleeping and you read an article that says your Circadian Rhythm might be playing a part. You’re probably thinking, what is that and why is it important? 

Well, good question. According to the National Institute of Medical Studies, “Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.”

How Does Your Circadian Rhythm Affect Your Sleep?

Your body has a “Master Clock”  that controls the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. This gland is located just above our optic nerves, so it relays information from the eyes to our brain.

When there is less light—like at night—our master clock tells our brain to make more melatonin and go night-night. But if you are using artificial lights your master clock gets the signal “it’s not time for bed.” So, your body slows down melatonin production, and you’re up all night staring at the ceiling.

So What’s the Big Deal?

Not only does your melatonin production decrease but when  your Circadian Rhythm is disrupted, it can affect your daily activities, such as your mood and your eating habits.

A growing body of research is examining the adverse health effects a disrupted Circadian Rhythm can have, “like increasing the chances of cardiovascular events, obesity, and a correlation with neurological problems like depression and bipolar disorder,” according to Psychology today.

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Dr. Marina Rose practices in the San Francisco Bay area. She uses a Functional Medicine approach to help people improve their sleep as well as a variety of other health issues such as digestion, mood, hormones and inflammation.

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