If you have trouble sleeping in Portland, OR, it could be because your circadian rhythm is off. Circadian rhythms are internal biological mechanisms that orchestrate the sleep-wake cycle and other physiological activities within a roughly 24-hour period. These rhythms aren’t only limited to sleep patterns but also include various body functions like hormone secretion, body temperature regulation, and metabolic processes. They act as intrinsic time-keeping clocks in all living organisms—including humans—ensuring that various physiological circadian rhythms are largely responsible for helping your body to know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.

Location and Mechanism

The primary control center for human circadian rhythms is in the brain’s hypothalamus region, consisting of cells that receive direct signals from the eyes, thus aligning the internal clock with the external environment’s light-dark cycle. This alignment is essential for maintaining a consistent and healthful circadian rhythm.

Role of Light

Light serves as the principal external factor affecting circadian rhythms. It influences these rhythms by activating or deactivating genes that control the internal clocks. Morning light signals the hypothalamus region to initiate various processes, such as increasing body temperature and producing cortisol, a hormone that aids in waking up. In contrast, the absence of light at night promotes the secretion of melatonin, which facilitates sleep.

Health Implications

Disturbances in circadian rhythms, like those caused bysleep apnea in Portland, OR, can lead to various health issues. Night shift work or exposure to light during nighttime hours can disrupt the natural rhythm, possibly causing sleep disorders, mood disturbances, and metabolic problems.

To maintain a balanced circadian rhythm, keeping a regular sleep schedule, ensuring daytime exposure to natural light, and avoiding light exposure during nighttime hours is advisable. This alignment is crucial for both physical and mental well-being. If you have sleep apnea or trouble getting a good night’s rest, contact us to book your appointment today.