The circadian rhythms are those rhythms that mark how our cells work. There are different types of biological rhythms, those that take less than 24 hours, those that take 24 hours and those that take more than 24 hours. All of them take place inside our body and all animal and plant cells and are regulated by those rhythms in order to regulate the biochemical processes of the cells.
Aleix Pellejero, biologist and one of our technical department members, explains us about these circadian cycles and, especially, about sleep and wakefulness.
What marks these cycles?
One of the most important factors marking these cycles is the sun, although it is also believed that there are other influences, such as electromagnetic radiation from the earth or electromagnetic fields.
It is believed that these cycles also influence our mood. Although it is not exactly clear how this process works, what is clear is that if, for example, our sleep and wake cycle is deregulated, we do not feel well, both physically and emotionally.
Three types of cycles
All cycles are repeated as long as the cell is alive. Blood pressure and temperature are also regulated through cycles. It has been shown that body temperature varies throughout the day and always at the same time. The same goes for blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone. There is a peak when we wake up and it decreases towards the end of the day.
Wake and dream cycle
Normally it takes a circadian cycle which means that within around 24 hours it is regulated, as if it were a clock depending on the speed of the person rhythm, slower or faster but always within a 24 hour interval. The cycle is regulated mainly through the sun that is why it is so important to expose ourselves daily to it.
It is recommended to sleep between 6 and 8 hours a day, although it depends a lot on the type of person, age, lifestyle etc.
How do you notice if your rhythm is regulated well?
Well, when we woke up and feel we had a good night’s sleep and we feel fine. It also depends on whether we have consumed caffeine or are feeling stress.
What causes us to segregate melatonin is the pineal gland, which is regulated by the sun with a circadian rhythm, therefore every time the sunlight passes through our retina to the pineal gland which is inside the skull. It is here when melatonin is eliminated, that it is the cause of getting a good night’s sleep. When the peak of melatonin is high, cortisol is very low and during the night it goes down until they cross. That’s why when we wake up we have a very high peak of cortisol. When we get up we feel tired because we have very high melatonin.
How can we regulate this?
Through routine. The body has a certain adaptation to these types of things. If from Monday to Friday we have a routine and the weekend we change it suddenly our cycle is deregulated. It is healthiest to stick to a regular routine. If in the weekend we go to sleep later it is best that we try to sleep the same hours as we sleep every day.
As we have commented, we must remember that everything is part of a greater whole and we thrive when synchronized and are in harmony with all the elements that constitute this reality.