Sleep to the Beat of Your Circadian Rhythm

Are you a “morning person” or a “night owl?” The answer to this question is often influenced by “dipping” and “rising” tendencies in your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and bodily changes that roughly align to a 24-hour cycle, responding to factors in our environment, such as light and darkness.

At certain points of the day, you might catch yourself wishing it were naptime even though you’ve had a full night’s sleep. For most people, this often happens between 1 and 3 p.m., when the dips in their circadian rhythms are the strongest.

We can decrease how sleepy we feel during the dips in our circadian rhythms by getting more sleep at night. The sleepiness we experience is usually intensified by an insufficient amount of rest.

Sometimes, we can’t help how our circadian rhythms work. For instance, during adolescence, teenagers experience a change in their rhythms that often make it harder for them to go to bed before 11 p.m. This makes waking up in the morning to go to school more difficult. No wonder so many students end up falling asleep in class!

Keeping note of when your circadian rhythm “dips” and “rises” will help you determine when you are most productive. If you’re likely to dip in the afternoon, schedule your most important meetings in the morning. If you know you are a heavy “dipper,” try and get more sleep at night so that you won’t crash as hard throughout the day.

Because circadian rhythms respond to natural factors such as daylight, irregularities in your environment may cause your rhythm to readjust. This often occurs when traveling, resulting in the familiar phenomenon known as “jet lag.” Keep in mind that readjustments may take a few days, so don’t be alarmed if your internal clock hasn’t caught up yet.

However, if you are experiencing abnormalities with your circadian rhythm unrelated to jet lag, a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder could be the cause. Please give our FusionSleep team a call at (678) 990-3962, so that we can help get your circadian rhythm back on track.