If you’ve ever found yourself waking up at the same time, (even on weekends when you meant to sleep in), feeling low on energy right before your lunch break, or wondering how your body seems to know what time it is, you can thank your circadian rhythm!

What is a circadian rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It’s in charge of keeping you alert and awake as well as helping you doze off when you are ready to sleep. Your body actually takes cues from the time of day, such as starting to feel drowsy when the sun goes down. This is your circadian rhythm helping your body know that when it is dark, it is time for sleep. It also happens in the morning when the sun rises and you feel ready to wake.

How does your circadian rhythm affect your day to day life?

You may notice you feel more tired and sluggish after a poor night’s sleep. This is because your circadian rhythm has been thrown off its usual track. When you are sleep deprived or excessively tired, your energy levels may yo-yo. You may feel alert at one moment, only to slip into a more sluggish demeanor later. A disrupted circadian rhythm may make it harder for you to concentrate, or lead to tiredness during the day. Maybe you were up all night binge watching your favorite show, or daylight savings time has you thrown off your normal routine. These factors all affect your rhythm. While you may want to catch up on sleep by waking up a few minutes later than usual, this may also negatively impact your natural rhythm. The upcoming daylight savings time switch offers us all an opportunity to reset our circadian rhythm. This can be achieved by adjusting your bedtime in small increments over a week. This lets our bodies gradually adjust, which is preferable to a sudden, drastic change.

How can I prevent my rhythm from being disrupted?

Practicing good sleep hygiene can lead to a healthy and happy circadian rhythm. When you wake feeling well rested, your body has had a chance to reset itself for the upcoming day’s activities. Getting a good night’s rest can sometimes be difficult though. Check out these sleep tips to help you manage your circadian rhythm:
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine near bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. As little as 10 minutes of activity can improve your sleep.
  • Maintain a healthy sleeping environment. Lights or televisions in the bedroom may impact your night’s sleep.

We are here when you need us! Patient First is able to evaluate and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, every day of the year – no appointment is needed.

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