Circadian rhythm Disorders
The Sleep Matters team has experience assisting with circadian rhythm disorders, body clock disruptions, managing shift work, & jet lag.
Night Owls and Early Birds
- Are you an extreme night owl?
- Do you find that you can’t sleep until the early hours of the morning, but once you are asleep, you sleep well?
- Would you like to be able to rise earlier to start your day?
- Are you an extreme early bird?
- Do you fall asleep early and wake much earlier than your desired rising time?
- Would you like to go to bed and wake up later?
- Are you a shift worker, FIFO worker or frequent traveller
- Do you have difficulty adjusting to changing sleep schedules/time zones?
- Would you like advice on coping with jet lag?
- Do you have an irregular sleep-wake routine and feel that this disrupts your sleep?
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Follow this link for a quiz that will tell you if you're a night owl or early bird.
What is the circadian rhythm or Body Clock?
Circadian rhythms are the physiological and behavioural changes which occur in the body across the 24 hour period. The body has an internal clock which is managed deep in the brain (the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus). The body clock, or circadian rhythm regulates the release of hormones such as melatonin and causes ebbs and flows in energy levels and sleepiness during the day.
The operation of the body clock means that people often feel more alert mid-morning, sleepy after lunch, and sleepy again at bedtime. When running well, the body clock ensures that our sleep is in sync with environmental cues such as natural light/dark.
Sleep difficulties related to the body clock have been linked to the abnormal timing of melatonin production. Melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone’, helps the body to fall and stay asleep. If melatonin is released too late, this can mean difficulty getting to sleep, if melatonin is released too early, this can mean falling asleep early but then waking at 3am or 4am.
Circadian rhythm disorders are a group of conditions in which the timing of sleep is disrupted. Circadian rhythm disorders can make it difficult for ther person to function during the day. Body clock disruptions are less severe but can still have a negative impact.
Although circadian rhythm disorders or disruptions canhappen at any age, they are more common during adolescence, and in shift workers or FIFO workers.
Help for Circadian Rhythm Disorders and Body Clock DisruptionsFor most people it is possible to shift the body clock. If you need to wake earlier or stay up later, the body can often be trained.
Bright light therapy and careful timing of bed times, rising times, and daily activities such as meals and exercise can be effective in altering the timing of the body clock and treating circadian rhythm disruptions. Careful timing of melatonin can also be effective.