What Is the Circadian Rhythm?

Often referred to as the "body clock," the circadian rhythm is a cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, rise, eat—regulating many physiological processes. This internal body clock is affected by environmental cues, like sunlight and temperature. When one's circadian rhythm is disrupted, sleeping and eating patterns can run amok. A growing body of research is examining the adverse health effects a disrupted circadian rhythm can have, like increasing the chances of cardiovascular events, obesity, and a correlation with neurological problems like depression and bipolar disorder. Researchers studying chronobiology were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Recent posts on Circadian Rhythm

Sunlight Is the Best Medicine

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on December 01, 2017 in Chronotherapy
Justice Brandeis remarked, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” It also helps cure people, as first observed in tuberculosis patients. It targets depression, too.

Neuroscientists Uncover Sleep Timing Secrets

Is a good night's sleep a battle? Understanding how it works might help you get more rest..

Do Our Circadian Rhythms Make Midnight Snacks a Health Risk?

By Christopher Bergland on November 08, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Although midnight snacks taste delicious, a new study suggests that nocturnal eating may be pernicious.

Light Therapy for Chronic Pain

By Mark Borigini M.D. on October 30, 2017 in Overcoming Pain
In the meantime, open the shades, put your head right into that sunny morning, and wait for your body’s opioids to kick in.

The Health Benefits of Light

Wondering about bright light or dim blue or red light for depressed mood? Research studies show benefits for depressed mood, seasonal affective disorder and some sleep problems.

The 2017 Nobel in Medicine: Good News for Dream Research

Anything that sheds new light on sleep has the potential to shed new light on dreams, since dreaming naturally emerges out of the state of sleep.

And the Nobel Prize Goes to…Circadian Rhythms

Why the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology has circadian rhythms researchers buzzing with excitement.

Tips for Mindful Technology Use

The lost art of boredom: How smartphones are making us dumber.

Time Present and Time Past: Obesity and Chronobiology

Does it matter when and how often we eat as much as what we eat when it comes to controlling our weight?

ADHD in Some Children Could Be Due to Insufficient Sleep

Biological delays in sleep onset at night, hectic family schedules, and artificial lighting have been linked to too little sleep and lower attention span in ADHD.

The Power of Wake

By David Hellerstein M.D. on September 22, 2017 in Heal Your Brain
College students commonly "get high and pull all-nighters." Can researchers study college students gone wild to treat depression and other disorders?

What You Need to Know About L-theanine

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on August 29, 2017 in Sleep Newzzz
Are you looking for ways to sleep better at night while also feeling relaxed during the day?

Hack Your Brain to Sidestep Jet Lag

By Andrea Bartz on August 25, 2017 in The Wandering Mind
A neurological approach to feeling better, fast.

Four Ways to More Restful Sleep

A few simple steps can pave the way to consistently refreshing sleep. A tranquil bedroom arranged for the senses, and a consistent routine are the key.

Jet Lagged? Here's What to Do About It

Planning an end-of-summer trip? Here's how to protect yourself from jet lag!

7 Major Questions (and Answers) About Dreaming

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on July 28, 2017 in Sleep Newzzz
Dreaming is a strange and mysterious process — one that scientists don’t fully understand. Let’s take a closer look at the stuff of which dreams are made.

The Importance of Sleep: The Brain's Laundry Cycle

By Jean Kim M.D. on June 28, 2017 in Culture Shrink
Evidence shows sleep washes and repairs the brain and maintains our health; as a society we shouldn't neglect the importance of sleep hygiene.

Beyond the Prophylactic and the Panacea

The hospital is a complex solution for the care of the elderly and delirium is an evolutionary fact for which assistance must be given.

Take a Walk!

Want to feel—and be—better mentally and physically? Dig out your sneakers and go for a stroll.

Get Better Sleep

The National Institute of Health estimates that more than 40 million Americans have sleep disorders. Yet there are several key strategies to get better sleep.

Daily Routines of Creative People

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on April 27, 2017 in Hot Thought
Most people have daily routines and rituals. According to a recent book, mornings are important productive times for many famous writers and other creative people.

10 Ways to Protect the Brain from Daily Screen Time

You may have heard that screen-time can wreak havoc on children's nervous systems. But aside from restricting technology, what can parents do to buffer against overstimulation?
Aphiwat Chuangchoem/pexels.com

Endless Jet Lag

Time rules life - including what you crave.
Pixabay

Let the Kids Sleep, Part II

Why is sleep so important?
PhotoMediaGroup/Shutterstock

Are You a Morning or an Evening Person?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 09, 2017 in Media Spotlight
While circadian preferences can change over the course of our lifespan, it is important to recognize how important morningness and eveningness can be in how we think and behave.

Why It's So Hard to Resist Late-Night Eating

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on February 23, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
If you've struggled to limit your eating after dinner, you're not alone. Find out why the drive to keep eating can be so strong—and ways to rein it in.

Sleep Disturbances Have Many Causes

Is chronic insomnia wearing you down? Learning about different kinds of sleep problems and their causes may help you find a more effective treatment.

Are Your Circadian Rhythms Out of Whack? Try Pitching a Tent

By Christopher Bergland on February 02, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Spending the weekend on a camping trip with minimal artificial light exposure and an abundance of natural light can reset your internal circadian clock, according to a new study.

Do You Have the Winter Blues?

Do you know this difference between seasonal affective disorder and major depression and how you can feel better?