Circadian rhythms vary from individual to individual. While almost everyone has a typical circadian rhythm, some people exhibit shifts. Such individuals are referred to as larks, as they are more alert earlier in the morning. Others, known as owls, are more alert at night. Most people experience shifts over their lifetime, but they can occur at any age. Learn more about the biological clock to understand the effects of circadian rhythms.
The body’s proteins interact with cells throughout the day to create the circadian rhythm. These clocks are present in almost every organ and tissue in our bodies. The biological clocks are regulated by the brain and can be found in nearly every cell of the body. The brain coordinates these clocks, and researchers have found several genes that are similar among living organisms. The master biological clock is found in the hypothalamus, which receives input from the eyes.
The vast majority of circadian genes are organ-specific, with the dominant spliceform differing among different organs. An example illustrates the impact of circadian clocks upon sleep. A person working late shifts will likely experience a change in their circadian rhythms, and the effects of shift work on these rhythms are unclear. But these changes are common in our society.
Genetics program the circadian rhythm, which is a predictable, stable rhythm. However, there are a number of factors that can make this circadian orchestra go out of whack. We experience a variety of mental and physical changes that can disrupt our sleep and wake cycles. Despite this fact our circadian rhythms change with age, which can affect our ability to adapt to our daily schedules and routines.
Although the influence of circadian rhythms on our mood is profound, it is largely unclear how these changes affect our health. The womb is where a newborn’s circadian rhythms develop. The suprachiasmatic nucleus develops in the womb and starts to oscillate in accord with mother’s cues, which can cause irregular sleep patterns. Around three to five months of age, these rhythms start to consolidate. This stable sleep-wake pattern may reflect the development of the endogenous circadian system. The increased daily exposure to light is associated with a faster transition to the stable sleep-wake pattern and a stronger circadian rhythm in infants’ activity levels.
There are many ways to correct an imbalance in circadian rhythms. One of the easiest ways to correct a circadian rhythm disorder is to ensure a regular sleep schedule. For example, setting an alarm to wake you up at a regular time will help your body adjust to a regular sleep schedule. If your body is consistently disrupted, it will be difficult to recover from it.