The Human Operating Manual

Circadian Rhythm

The circadian rhythm. Otherwise known as the sleep/wake cycle, which prompts us to get some shut eye before the inevitable transformation into an incomprehensible zombie takes hold.

Whether or not we are aware of the cause, we’ve all felt the effects that late night blue light exposure, nighttime high intensity physical activity, and ungodly amounts of caffeine can have on our sleep quality. Leaving us staring at the ceiling for hours on end, suddenly dwelling on embarrassing comments we made in high school, leading to the buildup of even more anxiety from knowing how unbearable work will be the next day unless our mind stops bringing up repressed memories, which results in the counterintuitive effect of keeping us awake even longer.

Then there are those of us who see sleep as a weakness. The people who work and party into the late hours of the morning, delusional of how badly depriving themselves of their much needed rest is significantly impairing their judgement and performance. Not to mention a huge drop in social skills, an increase in emotional reactivity, and a sharp increase in all-cause-mortality risk. All because of the fear of being perceived as weak or of being left behind by their competition.  

Which gets you wondering…

If a single night of sleep deprivation can turn you into an unquestionably self-destructive monster, what could the long-term effects of ignoring the body’s cry for rest be? 

Evolutionarily speaking, sleep would have made us incredibly vulnerable to predation. So, there must be one or many good reasons for making us stationary for about a third of the day. Sleeping is generally considered to be the time where we clear metabolic waste from our brains, when the large majority of memory consolidation and forgetting occurs, and when our body undergoes growth and repair. Not to mention giving us the time to emotionally reappraise our daytime experiences, which may assist in reducing traumatic memories and hypervigilance. Without this crucial recovery period we end up sick, stressed, and exhausted.  

Many of us seem to believe that we must be broken and that our bodies just can’t sleep well without sedation. The reality is, putting yourself into a comatose state will inevitably cause way more harm than good. Which begs the question, is it possible to naturally reset our body’s circadian rhythm, so that we may better function without sacrificing what very little time we have left in our days? 

For such a powerful recovery tool in our arsenal of health and wellbeing we collectively appear to misunderstand, and therefore, underutilize sleep on a detrimental level. So, if you are curious about learning more about the circadian rhythm, how the intricate body systems talk and receive information from the environment for the purpose of memory consolidation, or if you would rather be given a set of basic tips on sleeping better, we’ve got you covered.

Click one of the links below to find out more.    

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