(DGIwire) – Since the beginning of time, life on Earth has been influenced by the daily rotation of our planet and to a lesser extent, its seasonal orbit around the sun. The influence of these changes has been imprinted in our DNA. This programming is known as circadian rhythm.
A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of all living things, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria.
Generally, circadian rhythms originate within the organism, tissue or cell. However, they can be altered by external conditions such as sunlight or artificial light and temperature. Circadian rhythms determine the natural sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including human beings.
Scientists have discovered that there are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle and new studies continue to reveal previously unknown connections.
“There are now thousands of studies documenting the widespread effects that circadian rhythm have on our physiology. The take-away message is consistent: It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Disrupting our natural circadian rhythm always has an adverse effect on our health. Most of these effects are subtle and may not be noticeable at the time, but they do create problems at the cellular level,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust .
Regular alcohol consumption and evening caffeine have been shown to disrupt circadian rhythm and normal gene expression.
Periods where we lack sleep, jet lag and even the switch to daylight sayings time are common examples where most people feel the effects of an upset in our internal clock. There is growing evidence that shift work and frequent jet lag can raise a person’s risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and weight gain.
Griesel adds, “We can conclude from these studies that eating and exercise are best done during normal daylight hours and maintaining a personal schedule in alignment with our built-in clock is necessary for optimal health as well as lowering the risk of many common diseases.”
Sleepiness does not continually increase as time passes. Instead, our circadian clock causes a sleep cycle and the body is naturally ready for wakefulness and sleep at different times of the day. Maintaining consistent nightly sleep patterns has been shown to improve sleep disorders and overall quality.
Other studies have shown that the disruption of our internal clock reduces brain performance, can cause high blood pressure, disrupt metabolism, alter body temperature regulation, disrupt the production of insulin in the pancreas, and negatively affect blood vessel growth.
Griesel concludes, “It is circadian rhythms that tie us to the cycle of day and night. Our bodies operate best when our lifestyle is aligned with this natural cycle. In simple terms, this means that we are designed to be awake, active and eat during the day and sleep soundly at night. While our modern world has made disruption of this pattern commonplace, the research clearly suggests that it is contributing to a host of diseases.”