Circadian Rhythm and Sleep
Your circadian rhythm and sleep impact almost every aspect of your life. Think back to your last vacation. You ate when you were hungry, slept when you were tired, and had enough energy to do everything on your itinerary. In short, you felt great! That’s what it feels like when your circadian rhythm is balanced.
Flash forward to “real life,” when your vacation ends... and something feels off. This is what it feels like when your circadian rhythm is out of sync. Why can’t we feel as balanced and as well-rested as we do on vacation all the time?
Actually, it is possible to feel less stress, get better sleep, and enjoy enhanced vitality. It’s even possible to feel more rested once you tap into the power of your circadian rhythm.
Jennifer Cooper, Chief Scientific Officer of RestoreZ, is passionate about the relationship between balanced circadian rhythm and high-quality sleep. “If we could just get the word out that sleep matters, that circadian rhythm and synchronizing our circadian rhythm is important, we could have an unprecedented effect on people’s health.“
Below are links to take you to specific sections within this article. That way, you can find the information you're looking for quickly, or feel free to read it in its entirety.
- What is Circadian Rhythm
- How Circadian Rhythm Affects the Body
- Why a Balanced Circadian Rhythm is Important
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption
- Tips to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
- Balanced Circadian Rhythm Puts Everything Into Balance
What is Circadian Rhythm?
All living things, from plants and animals to humans, are regulated by an internal “clock” that operates on a daily schedule lasting approximately 24 hours. This clock helps organisms know when it’s time to perform essential functions for survival. For example, your biological clock makes you sleepy at night and wakes you up in the morning.
Your internal clock or body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, is responsible for more than just your sleep-wake cycle. Studies on circadian rhythm science are beginning to reveal that the circadian rhythm is fully accountable for a healthy, functioning body, regulating everything from behavior to cell division to hormone production.
In 2017, Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young broke new ground in this field, earning the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. The researchers discovered the molecular mechanisms, such as suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), that control our circadian clock and the pineal gland's secretion of the hormone melatonin – how the biology of humans, plants, and animals synchronize with the Earth’s revolutions.
Hall, Rosbash, and Young identified, isolated, and studied a gene that regulates protein components that ultimately affect our biological clock. Over a 24-hour cycle, the protein levels accumulated and depreciated in sync with what the researchers understood as the circadian rhythm. This circadian clock regulates critical biological processes such as sleep cycle and body temperature. They then forged forward to learn how this process could be manually generated and sustained. This groundbreaking circadian rhythm science of sleep discovery led to the foundation for RestoreZ.
How Circadian Rhythm Affects the Body
Circadian Rhythm and Sleep
Your circadian rhythm regulates several systems in the body, most notably sleep. Modern American society finds it difficult to accept that rest is not a luxury and sleep deprivation is far too common. Yes, a proper sleep schedule feels good, but it’s also vital for overall health and keeping our life cycle balanced. While you snooze, the body is hard at work, focusing on cellular repair, division, and maintenance.
Circadian rhythm disruption often manifests as poor sleep. You might experience trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested. In turn, a lack of quality sleep can affect other body functions.
Circadian Rhythm and Digestion
Research out of the Teaching Hospital of the University of Jena in Germany found that biological rhythms influence daily food intake, hunger cues, feelings of satiety, and resulting digestion. This feedback loop flows from the hypothalamus in the brain, through your genes and hormones, to the gastrointestinal tract in slow waves dictated by your circadian rhythm.
The study notes that circadian disruption due to poor sleep can lead to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcers. An altered sleep/wake pattern may also contribute to obesity, since food is consumed when it’s convenient, instead of when your body needs it.
Circadian Rhythm and Immunity
Your internal clock can also affect immune functions. According to the research journal Nature Reviews Immunology, your system’s response to potential microbial threats, tissue damage, and elimination of toxic cellular elements are impacted by your circadian rhythm.
When an organism experiences inflammation — the body’s signal of cellular damage or irritation — your circadian rhythm begins to oscillate. This oscillation disrupts the natural flow of your system and can trigger chronic disease. A range of illnesses from cancers and autoimmune disorders, to infectious diseases, can be traced to inflammation.
Circadian Rhythm and Memory
Do you have trouble recalling names and dates? Your circadian rhythm also influences how you learn, remember, and retrieve information. The hippocampus, which plays a major role in learning and memory, can integrate circadian information in many ways. Processes such as synaptic remodeling and neurogenesis, for example, take input from the circadian system.
When your circadian rhythm is in sync, you anticipate changes and form associations with stimuli in your environment, then respond accordingly. Sometimes, however, you feel “off” and exercise poor judgment and decision making skills. Why? Your brain wasn’t able to retrieve the needed information effectively. Circadian rhythm science suggests it’s likely these moments coincide with an unbalanced circadian rhythm.
Circadian Rhythm And Cellular Repair
Your internal clock also influences nutrient sensing, the ability to respond to environmental nutrient levels to maintain cellular processes, such as hormonal signals and the regulation of human metabolic diseases.
An article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation links metabolism to the processes in the body that control sleep. When one of these systems is disrupted at a cellular level, humans become predisposed to metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Circadian Rhythm and Muscular Health
Should you exercise in the morning or at night? There really are optimal times to do everything in our lives, including exercise. The BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal explains that being mindful of circadian time cues (known as “zeitgebers”) can trigger chronobiological homeostasis, which leads to improved health and physical performance.
Put simply, knowing when to exercise and honoring the natural rhythms of our bodies can lead to a healthier physique and lifestyle.
Why a Balanced Circadian Rhythm Is So Important
When your circadian rhythm is balanced, your body’s systems are functioning optimally during its 24-hour cycle. Here are a few benefits of a balanced circadian rhythm that you may notice.
- Fewer food cravings and improved digestion: When your body is optimized, hunger and digestion regulate themselves. You won’t feel the urge to snack when you aren’t hungry.
- More stable emotions and mental functioning: Your memory recall improves, you can think more clearly and logically, and you can better manage your emotional responses to the world around you.
- Better, easier, more restorative sleep: Rest is the key to allowing your body to regenerate and refresh itself each day. When your circadian rhythm is in sync, your sleep patterns and sleep quality improve.
- Better overall physical health: When you’re eating the foods your body needs, your mental health is in check and your sleep is optimal. The systems in your body align, which reduces inflammation and disease, improving your physical health. Mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, have been linked to the circadian rhythm.
Circadian Rhythm Disruption
What Happens When Your Circadian Rhythm Is Out of Sync
Outside influences have more control over your sleep patterns than you might think. Days are planned around the clock, kids, clients, and friends – but not necessarily what is best for your body. The further you stray from what you need, the more warning signals your body emits physically and mentally.
Ignoring these warning signals from your body can lead to circadian disruption and, ultimately, circadian rhythm disorder. This circadian imbalance causes your body’s systems to struggle and not perform as intended. A few common circadian disrupters include working late-night shift work (shift work disorder), jet lag from traveling across time zones, and alcohol abuse. Outside influences have more control over your sleep patterns than you might think. Days are planned around the clock, kids, clients, and friends – but not necessarily what is best for your body. The further you stray from what you need, the more warning signals your body emits physically and mentally. Ignoring these warning signals from your body can lead to circadian disruption and, ultimately, circadian rhythm disorder. This circadian imbalance causes your body’s systems to struggle and not perform as intended. A few common circadian disrupters include working late-night shift work (shift work disorder), jet lag from traveling across time zones, and alcohol abuse.
“When we think about all of the external things that impact circadian rhythm, the reality is that those external cues do one of two things; they either interfere with our natural circadian rhythm or reinforce our natural circadian rhythm,” says Mary Marbach, CEO of RestoreZ.
Common Examples & Symptoms of Circadian Rhythm Disrupters
If you experience any of these, your circadian rhythm may be out of balance:
- Poor sleep or lack of sleep: Feeling groggy in the morning, sleepiness in the afternoons, and being unable to nod off when you hit the sheets are telltale signs that your body’s rhythm is not in sync with itself and your environment.
- Irregular insulin levels: This symptom directly reflects an imbalance in our circadian rhythm, which in part dictates insulin distribution in our bodies. When our insulin levels are not properly maintained, we become predisposed to insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease, and obesity.
- Decreased mental health or sharpness: When you don’t get quality sleep and your insulin levels spike and dip, your brain simply doesn’t function optimally. This can lead to brain fog, confusion, or simply not feeling as alert as usual.
- Staying up late at night: Sometimes logging long hours is unavoidable due to work or social engagements, but establishing a sleep/wake routine and sticking to it will benefit your overall health — and reset your circadian rhythm naturally.
- Eating at random times: Snacks, cravings and the general availability of food make it easy to grab a bite when something looks enticing. Instead, listen to your body and eat when you feel hungry. Your hunger may not always come up at traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner times.
- Decreased ability to cope mentally and emotionally: When you don’t feel good, it’s easy to lose patience and feel irritable toward others. Do you take timeouts from difficult situations to ‘clear your mind’ and get a better grasp of things? That’s your body requesting rest!
- Using technology/bright light late into the evening: The sleep-disturbing effects of blue light exposure from computers, tablets, and cellphones are well known. As technology emitting bright light increasingly becomes a permanent fixture in our lives, your devices can pull you out of circadian balance instead of reinforcing your natural flow.
Tips to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Better
You can get better sleep and feel more vibrant during the day, even when you’re not on vacation. The key is synchronizing your circadian rhythm. By making lifestyle changes, taking supplements that nurture your internal clock, and honoring the unique messaging your body shares with you each day, better nights and days await. Thankfully, it’s possible to hit the reset button on our body’s internal clock and reap the benefits of a balanced circadian rhythm. The two most effective options are external lifestyle changes and internal nutritional supplementation.
Listen to Your Body
The best thing you can do to elevate your health is to get in touch with what your body is telling you, then act on it. Your body naturally begins preparing for sleep about 90 minutes before you close your eyes. Do you honor that and relax before bed with meditation, reading a paperback book, or writing in a journal? These activities help you slow down and reflect on your day, which prepares you for a good night’s rest.
Get Vitamin D
During the day, you probably get a little antsy if you’ve been cooped up inside for hours on end. Make a conscious effort to go outside during daylight hours to absorb sunshine and naturally produce nourishing vitamin D.
Eat When You’re Hungry
Get in tune with when you’re actually hungry, rather than eating because others say it’s time to do so. Our routines have made so many of our lifecycles (like eating) become automated rather than intuitive. Slow down. Pay attention. Respect what your body wants.
No Blue Light at Night
Although it’s unrealistic to give up technology completely, we can be more mindful of how and when we use it. Rather than scrolling your social media every time of day you have a free moment, check in once or twice a day when you need a mental escape. This will reduce your exposure to artificial bright light sources upon waking and at bedtime. Try this for a week and see how you feel!
Take High Quality, Natural Dietary Supplements
As you reset your circadian rhythm naturally, be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Are you strengthening your system with nutrient-dense whole, fresh foods? Or, do you rely on processed convenience foods laden with salt, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats? Choose wisely!
RestoreZ Natural Sleep Supplements
Choosing natural sleep supplements from RestoreZ resets your circadian rhythm naturally by nourishing your body at the cellular level. RestoreZ’s various formulas prepare the body for restful sleep and natural waking — without the need for an alarm clock.
RestoreZ does not make sleeping pills. RestoreZ supplements work 24-hours a day to untangle disruption, helping you feel your best WITHOUT the use of sleep medicine or single-ingredient supplements like melatonin.
Dietary supplements from RestoreZ reset your circadian rhythm naturally, bringing your body into synchronization with its master clock. These formulas aren’t designed to knock you out at bedtime. Instead, RestoreZ helps your body feel sleepy in the evening and naturally drift off to a state of healthy rest. After a week or so, you’ll notice a shift in your body’s cues for rest. If you listen to these cues, you will start reaping the rewards of better internal balance.
RestoreZ nutritionally supports healthy circadian function. We chose natural plant-based ingredients like curry tree leaf, black turmeric extract and ashwagandha for their inherent chemistry and positive impact on the supporting elements of our circadian rhythm.
A Balanced Circadian Rhythm Puts Everything into Balance
When your circadian rhythm is in sync, you experience the optimal functioning of all body systems. In a tangible sense, you’ll notice fewer food cravings and improved digestion. You may also detect a shift in how you handle your emotions. You’ll start to fall asleep easier, experience less wakefulness, wake up with focus, feel more rested, and achieve productive restorative sleep. During the day, you’ll notice better overall functioning mentally and physically.
Bottom line: When our bodies perform as intended, everything else falls into place.
Find a natural sleep supplement from RestoreZ that fits your sleep needs and lifestyle.