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Day: September 3, 2017

HOW THE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM WORKS

HOW THE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM WORKS

Babies sure are cute, aren’t they? Pure joy……but they do have their moments. If you’re a new mother, you’re probably already wondering how to get your baby to sleep through the night. It’s a matter of trial and error, the process of elimination and most importantly….time.

As adults, our bodies run on a 24-hour clock called circadian rhythm. Babies, on the other hand, are entirely different. Newborns have to develop their own circadian rhythm and this can take several weeks. By four to six weeks, a baby’s circadian rhythm becomes more pronounced and at six months it really starts to kick in….this is one of the reasons a lot of parents report sleeping problems at 6 months of age.

In essence it is our body’s internal system that responds to external stimuli which are things such as natural sunlight, food, exercise and social interaction. Early studies have found that if all the external stimuli are removed, your circadian rhythm runs on a 25 hour cycle. If you then return external cues such as sunlight, it automatically resets itself to run in time without 24 hour clock. So, in effect your body knows what time of the day it is. This is a real problem for shift workers because when you are ready to go to work, your circadian rhythm is telling you to go to bed and vice versa in the morning. So it’s a constant fight against your body.

In order to fully maximize your sleep, you need to time it to a very specific window within your circadian rhythm. This is basically the time in which your body decides that it is time to sleep which is in line with nighttime and darkness. If you can do this your body will be in harmony with your sleeping pattern and you will indeed find that you will have the best sleep of your life.

If you try to do this it is really important to establish a consistent sleep routine. This involves going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time ever morning. If you sleep in on weekends your internal clock is always playing catch up. Napping for adults or napping too late in the day for little ones can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythms.

The body’s circadian rhythm is the control system that regulates when babies get hungry, digest your food, produce urine and bowel movements and regulate blood pressure and body temperature. With so many critical bodily functions so closely intertwined to these rhythms you can begin to see why any disruption could create health issues. The crossing of multiple time zones when traveling creates a new environment that your body will be forced to synchronize all of these behaviors and functions to.

With so many factors working against a healthy, stable, well regulated body cycle we should all do everything we can to hedge against these known external influences. Better preparing for trips or following best practices when sick can help alleviate additional symptoms that could be prevented.

For help in getting your little one to sleep through the night go to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/ to see Sleepy Starz’ affordable sleep consultation packages.

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