Your body clock, or circadian rhythm, synchronizes how your body responds to each day. There are several scientific tests that have shown that this circadian rhythm is essential for our health
Il circadian rhythm it is made up of about 20,000 neurons in the hypothalamus, the area near the center of the brain that coordinates the body’s unconscious functions, such as breathing and blood pressure.
Humans aren’t the only life forms that have an internal clock system: all vertebrates – or mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish – have biological clocks, as do plants, fungi and bacteria.
These circadian rhythms are critical to health and well-being, governing the body’s physical, mental and behavioral changes in each 24-hour cycle in response to environmental cues, such as light and food. They are the reason why more heart attacks and strokes occur in the early morning. As evidenced by a recent study:
Cardiovascular circadian rhythms, however, can be a double-edged sword. Normal exaggerated responses in the morning may aid in the transition from sleep to activity, but such exaggerated responses are potentially dangerous in individuals susceptible to adverse cardiovascular events. In fact, the onset of stroke, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death all have daily patterns, most frequently striking in the morning. Additionally, chronic disruptions of the circadian clock, such as night shift work, contribute to increased cardiovascular risk. Here we emphasize the importance of the circadian system for normal cardiovascular function and cardiovascular disease, and identify opportunities for optimizing drug timing in cardiovascular disease.
Research has shown that chronic circadian rhythm misalignment, such as occurs in night workers, can lead to a wide range of physical and mental ailments, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer e cardiovascular diseases.
There is ample evidence that the body clock is critical to health, which is why chronobiologists are studying how to modify behaviors to use the internal clock to one’s advantage.
Read also: Diabetes: are you an owl or a lark? People who go to bed late are more at risk of getting type 2
How biological rhythms affect health
L’biological clock affects health as it regulates sleep-wake cycles, and fluctuations in blood pressure and body temperature. It does this primarily by synchronizing the endocrine system with light-dark cycles, so that certain hormones are released in certain amounts and at certain times of day.
The pineal gland in the brain, for example, produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep in response to darkness. Doctors recommend reducing exposure to artificial blue light from electronic devices before bed because it can disrupt melatonin secretion and, consequently, the quality of sleep.
Your circadian rhythm also affects your metabolism. In fact, sleep helps regulate leptin, a hormone that controls appetite. According to research, the levels of leptin they fluctuate during the day according to a rhythm established by the circadian clock.
Insufficient or irregular sleep has been shown to disrupt leptin production, which can make us feel hungrier and lead to weight gain.
In recent years, scientists have discovered even more ways your circadian clock can affect your health. For example, there is now research suggesting that eating at set times of the day can prevent obesity and obesity metabolic diseases.
Some studies also link depression and other mood disorders to a dysfunctional circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm and exercise
Circadian clocks also provide a potential answer to when is the best time of day to maximize benefits of exercise.
Scientists have found that the time of day affects how each organ uses energy during exercise. For example, morning exercise lowers blood glucose levels more than late evening exercise. Late evening exercise, on the other hand, allows you to benefit from the energy stored during meals to increase physical endurance during training.
There’s still a lot to learn about how the circadian clock works; but, there are a few ways through which each individual can synchronize their internal clock for better health.
These methods include regular exposure to sunlight to trigger the endocrine system to produce vitamin Dstay active during the day so you can fall asleep more easily at night, avoid caffeine, and reduce exposure to artificial light before bed.
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Source: The Conversation
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