What is the Circadian Rhythm?

Often referred to as the "body clock", the circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep and regulates many other 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 cardiovascualr events, obesity, and a correlation with neurological problems like depression and bipolar disorder.

Recent Posts on Circadian Rhythm

The Argument for Later School Start Times

Schools need to start no earlier than 8:30am, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Shot Clock and the Body Clock

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in PreFrontal Nudity
During March Madness most people overlook important aspects of neuroscience that contribute to peak athletic performance.

Recovering From Seasonal Shifts in Mood in Bipolar Disorder

By Elizabeth Brondolo Ph.D. on March 26, 2015 in Take Control
For people who have bipolar disorder, seasonal changes in mood can disrupt your health and well being. You can learn to recognize and address these seasonal shifts before they cause harm. We examine the effects of these shifts on motivation, thinking and identity. Early recognition can help you gain better control of bipolar spectrum disorder.

The House of Cards Characters Have Terrible Sleep Hygiene

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on March 06, 2015 in Brain Babble
If Frank Underwood has trouble sleeping, it's not because of his conscience. Here's why the House of Cards characters have terrible sleep hygiene.

Why Do We Dream?

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Sleep Newzzz
Many scientists studying sleep and dreams believe that dreaming does have a purpose.

Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder: SAD in the Summer

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on January 14, 2015 in Brain Babble
While many of us are familiar with SAD, there are, in fact, people who get SAD in reverse. For a small group of people, the dark days of winter don’t elicit depression, but renewed vigor and improved mood.

Our Dreaming World

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on January 02, 2015 in Sleep Newzzz
Despite sustained scientific exploration and attention—and no shortage of theories—we still don’t know the answer to the most fundamental question: Why do we dream?

When Our Bodies Lose Track of the Time

By John Cline Ph.D. on December 30, 2014 in Sleepless in America
Internal circadian rhythms stay synchronized with external clock time because environmental factors such as light and meals align the rhythm with the external clock. If these cues are unavailable the circadian rhythm will steadily shift over time. For totally blind individuals this can result in problems such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

Sleep, as We Get Older

By John Cline Ph.D. on December 29, 2014 in Sleepless in America
With advancing age there are changes in sleep pattern, sleep quantity and sleep quality. Sleep remains important for good health throughout our lives and understanding how these changes affect the sleep of older individuals can help people to maximize the quality and quantity of their sleep and thus their health.

Helping Your Kids (And You) Enjoy That Holiday Break

By Marcia Eckerd Ph.D. on December 23, 2014 in People Skills
Having kids home for holidays can be fun but also stressful. Here are tips for parents to make it easier and enjoyable for both kids and parents.

Why Sleep Deprivation Is Torture

Prolonged sleep deprivation is an especially insidious form of torture because it attacks the deep biological functions at the core of a person's mental and physical health. It is less overtly violent than cutting off someone's finger, but it can be far more damaging and painful if pushed to extremes.

Up and Away Part II: The Nitty Gritty of Jet Lag Management

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on December 11, 2014 in Chronotherapy
Jet lag can ruin a vacation or business trip. Some travelers are more vulnerable than others. Major factors are east/west direction and number of time zones crossed. In Part I, Dr. Oren pointed to circadian rhythms disrupted by the sudden shift in the light-dark cycle. Here he points also to activity and rest patterns, and offers a program to minimize ill effects.

Had a Concussion? 11 Tips to Get You Through the Holidays

Have you or someone you love recently been in a car accident? Slipped on ice? Bumped their head? Without realizing it, you may have suffered a concussion, and may be living with symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) - chronic headache, fatigue, trouble sleeping, feeling agitated, etc. Learn how to help better deal with these symptoms as the holidays approach.

Up & Away: Jet Lag Upset, Ugh! Jet Lag Solution, Whew!

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on November 29, 2014 in Chronotherapy
Flying away may be your fantasy: the excitement of a fresh environment, relief from stress, the escape from bad weather and the blues. Or you just have to travel for work, and would rather be home. The challenge either way is jet lag, with disrupted sleep and concentration, and physical distress. The brain's inner clock holds the explanation, and is key to the solution.

Discover Expert Psychopharmacology Tips for Insomnia

Are you having low energy, feeling tired, and having trouble focusing? Read about potential ways to get help from a New York City Expert Psychiatrist at Fifth Avenue.

Oops! New Ways To Make Mistakes

Do you want machines to rule your life?

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips to Overcome the Disorder

The first way to get ready for the holiday season is to check out your mood today.

Does Cancer Grow More Aggressively at Night?

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on October 23, 2014 in Sleep Newzzz
Researchers have found evidence that some cancers may grow more quickly during nighttime resting hours than during the waking day.

Three Essential Parenting Sleep Tips

Sleep is critical for children's health and performance in school. But many parents let their ideas about what's best for children shape their kid's sleep, when the science of sleep points in very different directions. Embracing light exposure, reducing sleep-related anxiety and letting kids sleep as much as they need can make a huge difference for the whole family.

How Do We Learn Best?

What are the most important things to learn? How do we learn them?

Training A Seven-Month-Old To Sleep

By Dennis Rosen M.D. on October 14, 2014 in Sleeping Angels
"My 6.5-month-old son is not sleeping normally. What form of sleep training is suitable for my son?"

9 Lifestyle Factors That Can Affect Your Mental Health

Sound mental health requires much more than one simple intervention. A series of environmental and lifestyle factors play an important role too. Read on to learn more.

Can Diet Keep Circadian Clocks "Ticking" Well?

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on September 30, 2014 in Sleep Newzzz
Food consumption - both the timing of eating and what kinds of food we eat- may alter circadian rhythms and affect sleep.

Why CFL's Aren't Such a Bright Idea

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on September 15, 2014 in Mental Wealth
New (and old) research points to fluorescent light causing not just poor sleep, but physiological stress reactions. In light of rising neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and ADHD seen in children, are energy-saving CFL's costing us dearly?

The Future of Dreaming

We may think of dreaming as a kind of innate technology of the mind, a latent tool for cultivating self-reflective consciousness. This means the future of dreaming will be driven by a single key question: How can we use this tool better? How can we refine it, improve it, and amplify its power?

What's Going to Happen to Sleep Medicine?

What is sleep for? That's what sleep medicine must address.

Realistic Expectations for Bipolar Disorder

A discussion of the importance of conveying realistic expectation to university students recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder

Rest Easy, Parents and Children

There’s no doubt about it: Bedtime epitomizes all the demands and challenges inherent to parenting. And yet, evidence also tells us that getting our little ones — even infants — to fall asleep by themselves and rest through the night is more than wishful thinking.

Your Cancer Detection Bra is Ready?

Home health is getting closer to you.

In Search of a Good Night's Sleep

So…you’ve listened to all the advice about getting a good night’s sleep. You’ve tried everything, but nothing works. Consider the possibility that you might have a sleep disorder. Primary sleep disorders are common and treatable.