What is your Circadian Rhythm?

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If you have ever searched online about sleeping patterns, or maybe even heard the term on your favourite TV medical drama, you might have come across the expression circadian rhythm.

But what exactly is it, how does it affect you and what can you do to combat any issues you might experience with it?

TEMPUR breaks down the science jargon and explains all you need to know…

What is circadian rhythm?

In simpler terms, this is referred to as your sleep/wake cycle.

Your brain contains an internal, 24-hour clock that makes you feel energised or drowsy at certain points in the day. For most adults, the body will naturally feel at its lowest energy level between 2am and 4am at night and also between 1pm and 3pm in the afternoon (which explains that post-lunch nap craving).

Whilst this does vary by age, gender and also whether you are an ‘early-bird’ or a ‘night-owl’, there are still numerous outside elements that can affect this, such as hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions

Is your circadian rhythm important?

We all know the importance of getting a healthy amount of sleep every night in order to keep you going throughout the day.

Your body helps to regulate this via your circadian rhythm.

Over the years, many scientists have tested the effects on significant changes to this natural rhythm, which can result in numerous physiological and behavioural issues in more extreme circumstances.

What can I do to improve it?

It has been proven that the part of the brain that controls your circadian rhythm can be stimulated by light and temperature. So, whilst you may not be able to improve it, you can certainly keep certain good habits around sleep to help sustain it at a healthy level.

One of the ways in which you can do this is by keeping your sleeping patterns regular by going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day, including at the weekend. You should try and keep daytime napping to a minimum as this does not make up for a good night’s sleep.

The room environment also plays a big part in maintaining this, so make sure that the temperature in the bedroom is cool and that your pillows and mattress are comfortable. If you are a light sleeper, then you could also try blackout curtains, eye masks and ear plugs to blog out any unwanted distractions throughout the night.

Any good sleeping pattern should also include a relaxing bedtime routine, which might include a warm shower, reading a book or magazine and avoiding electronic screens and caffeinated drinks at least an hour before bedtime.

How do you ensure a good night’s sleep? Let us know your top tips below…

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