There are times every day when you’re wide awake and others when you feel sleepy, moments when you are totally alert and instances when you slip into a bout of sluggishness.
These regular changes in your mental and physical condition are governed by your circadian rhythms – your body clock.
Circadian rhythms are biological functions built in to our behaviour that occur in a 24-hour period, and are vital to our feeding and sleeping patterns.
For example, the morning sunlight triggers our brains to release chemicals that will warm our body temperature and make us feel awake, while the evening darkness coincides with an increase in melatonin production, which helps us to sleep.
Circadian disruptions – such as jet lag and overexposure to computer screens – happen when there is a shift to time and light cues, and can have serious effects on our sleep patterns.
Maintaining your circadian rhythms is crucial to getting a good night’s rest – and means following a regular bedtime schedule and keeping good sleep hygiene is vitally important.