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Understanding The Relation Between Body Clock and Correct Nutritional Intake

What comes to mind when you think of circadian rhythm? Maybe you thought of the sleep cycle, waking up on time, melatonin supplements, the body clock, or exposure to sunlight. Many of us associate the circadian rhythm with our body’s sleep regulation cycle, or sleeping and waking patterns. But it goes much beyond that. Let’s dive into what the circadian rhythm exactly does to our bodies.

Our biological clocks, often known as internal body clocks, are the innate time devices of our cells. In technical terms, it is known as the "circadian rhythm," an internal "biological clock" that controls a number of activities, including the sleep-wake cycle, hormone production, and metabolism. It does the job of regulating the natural physical, mental, and behavioral changes that occur on a roughly 24-hour cycle, and external signals like light, sunshine, and temperature have an impact on them.

These external environmental signals serve to regulate the levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol and melatonin, which can alter sleep, mood, and energy levels. The formation of these hormones drives the formation of other molecules, causing the circadian rhythm to keep functioning. Simply put, the body clock adjusts to changes in the environment, notably everyday light-dark cycles and cyclic food intake. Extreme nutritional changes can further reset the clock, and time-specific food consumption has been demonstrated to have dramatic effects on physiology. Fundamentally, the human circadian clock anticipates and responds to daily environmental changes.

How does nutrition regulate the body clock?

According to research, the body's clock is responsible for more than just sleep and wake time. Other systems, including appetite, mental alertness and mood, stress regulation, cardiac function, and immunity, hold a daily rhythm as well. It turns out that the same genes and biological processes that regulate our internal clock and hormone functions are also involved in how the aforementioned body systems function—or fail.

By regulating the production and/or activity of enzymes involved in cholesterol, amino acid, lipid, glycogen, and glucose metabolism, the circadian clock regulates food digestion, helps improve sleep, and conducts energy homeostasis. Furthermore, numerous metabolic hormones, including insulin, glucagon, adiponectin, corticosterone, leptin, and ghrelin, are closely associated with circadian fluctuation. Circadian rhythm disruption is linked to the development of cancer, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Metabolism and food consumption also have an impact on the biological clock.

How does food affect circadian rhythm?

We’re always talking, researching, and concerned about what we eat. But what also impacts our health and is important to take into consideration is when we eat. Our body’s metabolism shifts throughout the day depending on our circadian rhythm. As we eat more when the sun rises, and gradually decrease our food consumption as the sun sets, we’re likely to feel more satisfied and less hungry throughout the day. Doing this consistently can also improve sleep, impact your weight, and health positively.

Ideally, breakfast and lunch should be your larger meals, with dinner being your smaller meal of the day. While anyone can benefit from this diet, it is especially beneficial for people with metabolic illnesses such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Divide your calorie consumption into three main meals and two snacks, and include the four essential pillars in each meal: a high-quality protein (such as fish or dairy), plenty of veggies, a bunch of quality fiber, and wholesome fats. In addition, have your breakfast within two hours of waking up. Protein, fiber, minerals, and healthy fats are common components of a nutritious breakfast.

Does circadian rhythm impact mood and sleep?

Circadian typology has been linked to numerous elements of mental health, including resilience, perceived well-being, emotional intelligence, and psychiatric symptoms and disorders. An inconsistent circadian rhythm can impair a person's ability to sleep and function normally, as well as cause a variety of health issues, including mood disorders such as sadness, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Melatonin benefits may be something to consider if you're looking for ways to improve sleep.

As per the detailed research done to study the impact of circadian rhythm on mood and behavior, varied circadian types were expected to have different coping approaches to emotional pressures, and a morning person’s coping styles appeared to result in better outcomes and fewer psychiatric disorders, as compared to the night owls. In another study about mental health disorders related to the body clock, it was indicated that maintaining a regular daily routine of being active during the day and sleeping at night can play a significant role in improving mood and cognitive functioning. Individuals with more circadian rhythm disturbances, defined by increased activity at night, decreased activity during the day, or both, were more likely to exhibit symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder or serious depression, according to the researchers. They were also more likely to have lower feelings of well-being and lower cognitive performance.

So, if you consistently work on improving your sleep and eating habits, your circadian rhythm may begin to regulate. Supplements enriched with melatonin benefits the body clock by regulating your sleep cycle and can be highly beneficial if it's disrupted by various factors. If you also find yourself experiencing low mood or anxiety more often owing to daily stressors, a mind-relaxing supplement might just help your mood stay stable and calm you down the right way.

Wrapping up

Attending to our bodies' natural rhythms is perhaps more crucial to our health than we realize. It's not only sleep deprivation that has an impact on our health, but also the disruption of our biological rhythms, which can interfere with so many body functions, leaving us more susceptible to infections, mood disorders, and even heart disease. Practicing excellent sleep hygiene, limiting caffeine use after sunset, and adhering to a sleep schedule that works well for your body can go a long way toward keeping the system in its natural rhythm and can have a significant impact on how your internal clock runs.

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