What is the circadian rhythm, and how does it help me sleep?
The Circadian rhythm is part of your body's natural body clock that regulates physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These include your body temperature rhythm, hormonal activity, and arguably most important of all, your sleep/wake cycle.
Deep within our brains, in a region called the hypothalamus, we have an internal master circadian clock; this is a group of about 20,000 nerve cells (neurons) that form a structure called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN.
The SCN or master clock uses natural light exposure to regulate, synchronize and control our body temperature rhythm, our hormonal activity, and sleep/wake cycles.
The master circadian clock was once a very reliable way of maintaining our sleep-wake cycles. As the sunset and exposure to natural light are reduced for the day, the brain releases a chemical called melatonin via an area in the brain called the pineal gland.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone in the body that initiates sleep. Conversely, the body will suppress melatonin as the sun rises and light exposure increases. This biological shift increases feelings of alertness and wakefulness. Interestingly studies have shown this regulatory process even occurs while asleep through our eyelids.
Modern disruption of your natural biological cycle
Unfortunately, our modern world disrupts this natural biological cycle and melatonin production. At the end of the 20th century, shift working was rising. At the same time, technology provided people with additional sources of nighttime light, including television, computer screens, e-readers, smartphones, and tablet computers. Today, more than 80% of humans and 99% of those living in the US or Europe experience significant nighttime light pollution.
Nighttime light pollution disrupts your body's circadian rhythm and can delay the release of melatonin. If melatonin release is delayed or reduced, this can diminish your sleep quality and can lead to insomnia or sleep disorders.
Symptoms of sleeping sub-optimally or suffering from insomnia may include difficulty initiating sleep, early wakefulness, and less restorative sleep. Did you know that a disrupted circadian rhythm can even lead to hormone deregulation resulting in mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.
How can BrainLuxury help improve your sleep quality?
DELTA contains L-Tryptophan. This is a vital amino acid that supports the body in making the correct amount of melatonin and serotonin for our own individual biological makeup. Ultimately tryptophan gives the body the building blocks of what it needs to produce melatonin naturally. This may support sleep and help to keep our circadian rhythm in sync.
Another important amino acid in our natural sleep aid is Glycine. Research suggests that Glycine can actually reduce the time taken to fall asleep while also accelerating the time to your deep sleep phase. The deep sleep phase, also called slow wave sleep, is a critical stage of sleep as it is when the body heals and your cognitive function is restored .
Zinc is needed to synthesize melatonin and is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin regulates a lot of your body's processes, including mood and sleep. Zinc deficiency is a major health problem worldwide, and is designated by the World Health Organisation as a major disease-contributing factor( 5+6).
Low zinc levels have been shown to correlate to decreasing melatonin production in the pineal gland. Supplementing with zinc has been found to increase melatonin production, which may help regulate our circadian rhythm 3
Vitamin D3, C and E
These vitamins for sleep promotion may help support neuroplasticity. This is your brain's ability to create new pathways, processes and connections which can support your body to fall asleep naturally again.
What else can improve your sleep?
The body's circadian clock responds to light, as a signal to be awake, and dark, as a signal to fall asleep. This is why minimal exposure to bright light before going to bed and ensuring a dark cool room can improve our sleep.
We can also use this system to our benefit in the morning; by ensuring 20-30 minutes of exposure to bright light early in the morning, we can regulate our master clock while also making us feel energized and ready for the day.
Read more top tips here, or try our supplement for natural sleep, DELTA.
We hope this has helped you on your quest for brain health. If you have any questions about our products, feel free to reach out to our team.