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During sleep you have to go through a series of essential physiological stages to have good mental and physical health. These stages are known as the REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement) Y deep or non-REM sleep phase. The circadian rhythm It is a kind of biological clock that regulates these physiological functions of the organism so that they continue their cycle on a regular basis.
What is the circadian rhythm?
The circadian word it comes from the Latin word "circa", which means "around", and "diem", which means "day", so means "around the day". Its meaning has a lot to do with its function, which is to regulate the changes in physical and mental characteristics that occur throughout a day. That is to say, It is a kind of biological clock of the organism. This clock is in the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus.
The circadian rhythm is established during the first months of life and is the one that control any of the daily biological ups and downs, such as temperature, blood pressure and hormone segregation. After is totally responsible for the regulation of sleep and wake cycles.
Sleep and vigilance are associated with light stimuli. The brain associates light with greater physiological activity, while in the dark these functions are inhibited. If this period is not used to rest, there will be an alteration of the biological rhythm that could negatively affect the physical and psychic health. This is because the individual suffers doubly, first by remaining active during the natural lethargy phase and, second, by the effort of sleeping during the activation phase.
Factors that influence circadian rhythm
As we mentioned earlier, the light is what marks the circadian clock when it comes to falling asleep and waking up. For this reason, if you sleep in a room in which, for whatever reason, light enters at night or near mobile or electronic devices that emit it, there could be a delay in the natural period of sleep induction, interrupt it or hinder it.
The daily routine also marks the body some schedules. Unconsciously the brain marks a kind of schedule that will influence sleep and wakefulness. For this reason it is very important have more or less similar sleep schedules for every day of the week.
And finally, adequate melatonin levels will be those that produce or eliminate the feeling of drowsiness. When it gets dark, the level of melatonin increases to induce the individual in sleep. Instead, with the light the levels decrease to wake him up. This function helps the sleep cycle to be synchronized with the solar and night cycles.
All this means that to adapt the lifestyle to the circadian rhythm and for the body to be able to produce adequate levels of melatonin you have to sleep in a place where there are no light stimuli during the night and you have to have a more routine sleep or less similar seven days a week.
What time is best to go to sleep?
One study found that we are more likely to fall asleep between 2:00 and 4:00 and between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This can give an approximate idea of the ideal moments to sleep of the circadian rhythm. Although these hours may always vary depending on the individual and his routine.
If you experience difficulty sleeping despite having a more or less marked routine, you will have to eliminate all kinds of external stimuli from the room, exercise and change the diet.