When Your Circadian Rhythm Is Out of Sync!
We’ve all been there, pulled an all-nighter or slept in on the weekends. Unknowingly we have affected our Circadian Rhythm (CR), and it needs a few days to readjust. But you have to make an effort to readjust it, and having your CR out of sync can lead to poor mental health.
You know when your Circadian Rhythm is out of whack because these will be the symptoms:
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Eating too much
- Fatigue and exhaustion
But that is not all, these symptoms look familiar to depression, and you could be suffering from depression because you have your Circadian Rhythm Misalignment. Yes, there is such a thing, and I’ll guide you through how to realign your CR, as I have to after a bout of hypomania from bipolar disorder.
But What is Your Circadian Rhythm?
It may sound like a dancing insect, but your CR governs your whole body and mind by releasing certain chemicals during the day, depending on the time based on the planet. All living things have a CR, and we are no exception. We need our bodies to release Melatonin for sleep, and we need our bodies to use Serotonin for a healthy mind; if we knock this out of kilter, our CR becomes misaligned.
The study of Circadian Rhythms is called Chronobiology, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest our modern lifestyles will impact our CR. You only have to look at the number of people who suffer from poor sleeping patterns to understand the blue lights emitted from our phone and laptops will produce the effect of daytime light and thus stimulate us to wakefulness.
These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria.Wikipedia
A misalignment of your internal clock will cause you no end of problems and lead to insomnia and depression. A recent study showed a delayed sleep phase (DSP), such as an all-nighter or delaying sleep by using your phone before bedtime, can impact mental health.
Circadian misalignment in DSPD (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder) is associated with increased depressive symptoms and DSPD symptom severity.Sleep Research Society
So you see, our Circadian Rhythms need to be in sync, and if they are out of kilter, we can be on a slippery path to them being misaligned for a long time and result in mental illness.
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Realign Your Circadian Rhythm
So how do you realign your CR? The easiest way I know of is to use the supplement Melatonin, and it was a recent discovery of mine. But there is still more you can do, especially if you prefer to do it without adding extra supplements.
- You can start by taking some time off from work; you will need several days; this should be regarded as a time for self-care, as you will be readdressing all the things in your daily routine that affect your Cicardian Rhythm.
- To find out what your natural body clock is, the first thing to do is see when you get tired and wake naturally. So forget the alarm clocks. You won’t need them for the next few days, but you will need to make a rough outline of your sleep; you can do this one of two ways, download a free app, or purchase a sleep monitoring system.
[AF] The sleep systems are easy to use and either clip to your finger while you sleep or to your hand; I recommend the one from Sleep On as they are experts in their field, and the product will monitor your sleep pattern.
- Once you know your current natural sleep pattern, you can then begin to change it to suit your needs. For example, if you naturally wake up at 10 am, but you need to start work at 9 am, you will be out of sync, and this deficit in your time clock will start creeping into your mental health.
- The next phase of the plan is to either take a Melatonin melt or tablet half an hour before your recommended bedtime. If you need to wake at 7 am and need 7 – 8 hours of sleep, your sleep time should be at 11 pm. Meaning you take the Melatonin at 10:30 pm.
- You need to do this for a minimum of three nights to get your sleeping on track; if you are using the Melatonin melt, then I have found your body automatically will adjust to 10:30 after three days, and then you can stop taking the supplement if need be.
- If you are using the sleep management system, you will see an improvement in the duration of your sleep and the quality of your sleep.
- Once your sleep is on track, everything else will naturally fall into place. Still, you need to make sure you avoid all electronic devices before bed, especially if you are not taking Melatonin.
It is a simple plan for a complex system, but it works for me, and it may work for you. I know if you work shifts it will make it very difficult for you to manage and if this is the case, I suggest you get yourself a sunshine light. They are primarily used for seasonal affective disorder, but they can help your Circadian Rhythms if you work many nights.
You will be able to use the sunshine light or SAD lamp during the middle of the night to stimulate your body clock, and this will, in turn, readjust your sleep patterns to suit the shift you are working. In conjunction with Melatonin Melts, you will have set your Circadian Rhythm to suit your work/life balance.
I hope my suggestions will help you, and if they have, please leave a comment below or if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.
Peace & Blessings