A look at the circadian rhythm; Very accurate biological clock of the body of living organisms
One of the interesting and controversial features in the body of living organisms, especially humans, is something called circadian rhythms. In fact, this cycle is considered one of the most important natural processes of the body's internal system, which manages the process of sleep and wakefulness in living beings within 24 hours. This process undergoes changes under the influence of external factors. This process is also called the body's biological clock, which has been widely observed in animals, plants, fungi and cyanobacteria. In this article, in addition to the complete introduction of the circadian rhythm, various causes involved in the stimulation of the sleep cycle and the correction of an abnormal circadian rhythm are also discussed.
Definition of the word circadian rhythm
The word circadian In Latin it consists of two parts. Circa- (Circa) means "about" and -din means "day". Also, processes with 24-hour cycles are called diurnal rhythms. Scientists believe that these two terms are separate from each other and should not be referred to the daily rhythm, the circadian rhythm. This will be possible only if the daily cycle can be considered an internal process in the body environment and not only stimulated by external stimuli. Although the circadian rhythm is an endogenous and internal process, this cycle changes under the influence of environmental factors such as light and temperature. If in any way the environmental factors work hand in hand to cause the change and occurrence of circadian rhythm abnormality, then a disorder known as circadian rhythm sleep abnormality occurs. Of course, there is nothing to worry about and this disorder can be treated most of the time.
The root of the discovery of a nature called circadian rhythm
The oldest documents related to American cultures that mention the natural cycle of the body go back to the time of a scientist named Theophrastus. This Greek scientist in a book called "Inquiries into plants" describes a tree that has many leaves similar to roses, and these leaves are closed at night but open as soon as the sun rises. The leaf opening process is completed by noon and then the leaves gradually close again at sunset. In this book, it is said that due to this process, the natives believe that this tree sleeps every day. The identity and name of this tree was later discovered by a botanist named Bretzel, and based on this, it became clear that Theophrastus had actually referred to the tamarind tree in his book.
Observations about the daily cycle or circadian process in humans in Chinese medical texts were also mentioned around the 13th century. Chinese doctors could choose the best points for acupuncture according to the time position and the circadian cycle. In 1729, the French scientist Jean-Jacques de Vertos de Miren designed the first experiment to investigate the responses of the body's biological clock to external factors. This scientist explains in his research findings that the 24-hour pattern of tree movement in the Mimosa pudica plant still exists even after placing the plant in total darkness.In the early 20th century, it was found that the circadian rhythm even in There are also bees
In 1896, Patrick and Gilbert discovered that during a long-term process of sleep deprivation, the desire to sleep in a 24-hour cycle decreases at times and increases at times. In 1918, another person named Zymansky showed in his study that animals can still maintain their 24-hour activity pattern in the absence of external factors such as light and changes in temperature.
It was found in the early 20th century that the circadian rhythm exists even in bees. August Forel, Ingeborg Belling and Oscar Weil did a lot of research to investigate the mechanism of the body's biological clock. With all these interpretations, the nature of the circadian rhythm and its scientific mechanism in fruit insects were discovered in 1935 by two scientists named Hans Kalmus and Erwin Bunning. Since the genetics of fruit insects are very similar to human genetics, the isolation of a gene can be considered a great help to study the control of the body's biological clock. In 2017, researchers named Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosebash, and Michael Young won the Nobel Prize for their important research on the circadian rhythm. In their study, scientists have shown that a specific gene can produce a specific protein in the dark, which is broken down during the day. This process can affect rest and sleep time. It also answers the question of how your brain works more powerfully and accurately during a day and night.
How does the circadian rhythm work?
There are several factors in order to regulate the circadian rhythm, some of the most important and well-known factors are as follows:
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In short, the cells inside the living organism's brain express specific molecular reactions to light and darkness. The eyes of a living creature can detect the changes in the receive the environment and then confiscate messages to various cells about when to sleep or wake up. These cells send more messages to other body parts that activate or even deactivate other functions. Factors that ultimately cause the body to be more tired than usual or to be in a wakeful state.
Some hormones such as melatonin and cortisol can increase or decrease during the circadian rhythm. find Melatonin is a hormone that can make you fall asleep at night, and for this reason, the amount of melatonin is released more at night than during the day. Cortisol can make you more alert; For this reason, your body produces more of this hormone in the morning. Other hormones that may play a role in wakefulness and circadian rhythms include:
Other effective factors
Body temperature and metabolism are also part of the circadian rhythm. When you sleep, your body temperature decreases and when you wake up, it increases. On the other hand, the body's metabolism changes at different times of the day and night. Other factors can affect the circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm can be adjusted based on your work hours, physical activity, stress, anxiety, and lifestyle habits. Age is another factor affecting the circadian rhythm. Babies, teenagers and adults each have their own different circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm in babies
New born babies do not have a normal circadian rhythm at the beginning of their life and it takes several months for the sleep and wake cycle to be properly established. This issue can make the sleep pattern challenging in the first days and weeks. By adapting to environmental changes and experiences, infants can regain their natural circadian rhythm. Babies' bodies begin to secrete melatonin after three months of birth, and cortisol begins to be secreted from 2 months to 9 months. As long as the baby's sleep cycle takes a normal state, babies usually spend 9 to 10 hours a day sleeping. That's why babies sleep a lot in early life is a completely normal thing.
Circadian rhythm in teenagers
Teenagers at one point of time a change in circadian rhythm called phase delay. They experience sleep. In this case, teenagers no longer feel sleepy at 8-9 in the night and get tired later. This change in sleep time is a normal thing in teenagers. In fact, the hormone melatonin is not secreted until 10-11 at night and even later. This change also makes teenagers want to sleep more in the morning. Typically, from 3 to 7 am, teenagers sleep in the deepest possible state.
Circadian rhythm in adults
Adults can have a very favorable and stable circadian rhythm, provided To establish healthy habits in themselves. For example, the time of going to bed and waking up should be stable. If adults use a regular sleep and wake schedule and get between 7 and 9 hours of rest each night, we can actually hope that the circadian rhythm is as natural as possible.
Adults who As they age, changes in their circadian rhythm are clearly visible. These people go to bed early and wake up late in the morning. In general, this is normal and part of the nature of aging.
What factors can change the circadian rhythm?
Sometimes it is not possible to use a precise schedule to observe the circadian rhythm. From a stressful and busy lifestyle to various mental and physical conditions, they work hand in hand to change the circadian rhythm. In short, the most important factors that change the sleep and wake cycle can be introduced as the following factors:
- Night waking or any activity that disrupts the circadian rhythm
- Shift working hours Night with irregular times
- Traveling to locations that have different time zones
- Nocturnal lifestyle
- Different medications
- Stress and anxiety
- Mood disorders
- Physical health conditions such as brain damage, cerebral degeneration, head injury and blindness
- Bad sleeping habits such as lack of regular planning To relax, drink caffeinated substances or even dinner a little before going to bed at night, watch TV in bed
What is the connection between circadian rhythm and jet lag?
The phenomenon of jet lag is very briefly and succinctly referred to as a complication that a person experiences by traveling to different time situations. A person suffering from jet lag, his body is not adapted to the new environment at the beginning and the circadian rhythm is in accordance with the last situation where the person lived. In general, people in this state experience extreme fatigue during the day And they are fully alert and awake at night. It usually takes a few days to a few weeks for a person's circadian rhythm to get used to a new environment. It seems to take a day for every hour of change in the new environment. For example, if the new position has a time difference of three hours from the previous position that the person was there, three days can be considered normal to get used to the new position. And you can experience mild symptoms of jet lag every six months. However, fortunately, this condition is not so permanent and your body returns to its normal routine after a few days.
How to reset our circadian rhythm?
Yes, you heard it right! If you haven't had the right sleep and wakefulness before and your circadian rhythm is messed up, there's nothing to worry about. You can reset your circadian rhythm by doing some activities. Some of the most useful and effective activities to reset your circadian rhythm are as follows:
- Try to establish a routine for each day.
- During the day Try to get outside so that your level of alertness is enhanced by the sunlight.
- Exercising and aerobic exercise daily for at least 20 minutes is an extremely beneficial activity.
- Sleep in a quiet environment, with proper light, as well as temperature and ventilation.
- Avoid drinking beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine-containing substances two to three hours before a separate night's rest.
- Don't stay on TV and smartphone until late and instead of these activities, try to read a book.
- Don't sleep for a long time in the afternoon or evening.
Sometimes a change in circadian rhythm can be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder. Two of the sleep abnormalities that are related to the circadian rhythm are advanced sleep phase and delayed sleep phase. If you have a job position with irregular shifts or suffer from limited visual ability, you are prone to these two sleep disorders. Of course, teenagers or the elderly can also experience these complications.Sometimes a change in the circadian rhythm can be a sign of a more serious sleep-related disease. The routine time of night rest for the general public to go to bed. In general, these people are called Shabzai in the society. Adolescents and young people are more prone to this disorder.
Advanced sleep phase disorder is exactly the opposite of delayed sleep phase disorder. You actually sleep a few hours earlier than most people and wake up earlier in the morning. circadian rhythm abnormalities can make resting at night a challenge; Because the person constantly wakes up during the night and does not go back to sleep easily after this incident. The symptoms related to these disorders are:
- Lack of sleep
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Feeling tired in Day length
- Feeling depressed or stressed
Other disorders that are somehow tied to the circadian rhythm include:
- Jet lag phenomenon which is caused by traveling to other time zones
- shift work disorder associated with circadian rhythm due to unpredictable waking hours at night
- irregular sleep-wake disorder caused by Inability to adjust the regular sleep and wake calendar
Treatment of these disorders can include various approaches. You can use these strategies for treatment:
- Using a regular schedule and calendar
- Using light therapy
- Using medication and Supplements like melatonin for a good night's sleep
- Try to use a deliberate change in your sleep rhythm for a few days or weeks
How the circadian rhythm affects health Is living organism effective?
Maintaining a natural circadian rhythm is extremely important for maintaining health. . If you experience a disruption in your circadian rhythm and don't get optimal sleep, you experience short-term and long-term effects on your health. Some of the most important disorders are summarized below:
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
You are also susceptible to diseases such as diabetes, obesity and other physical and mental disorders. Short-term disturbances to the circadian rhythm can include:
- memory problems
- lack of energy
- delayed wound healing
- Changes in the hormonal cycle that can affect fertility
- Problems related to the digestive and intestinal system
- Changes in body temperature
What When should you consult a doctor?
How many different reasons can be put forward to consult a doctor than defective rhythm circadian to reach a normal process. If you experience any of the following in the long term, it is better to see your doctor:
- Difficulty in getting a good amount of sleep at night
- Difficulty in Falling asleep
- Frequent waking up at night and inability to rest again
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Feeling very tired during waking hours
circadian rhythm; An important life cycle that must be observed
In order to increase productivity in daily activities, it is better for the natural circadian rhythm to rule in the human body; Because the amount of energy per day is one of the most important determining factors in the success rate of affairs and activities. Having an active and healthy lifestyle can strengthen the health of the human body. With all these interpretations, if you have not been able to correct your sleeping and waking rhythm with the recommendations in this article, it is better to talk to your doctor about this.