In the coming blogs we will take a closer look at our inner clock.
Many people are guilty of it; working long hours, working nights and exposing yourself to artificial light. However, disrupting the biorhythm is more harmful than most people realize.
How does the biorhythm work?
The Biorhythm, also called the circadian clock, is seen as the ancient day and night rhythm system that lasts about one day. Circadian functions are repeated daily and their rhythm is influenced by inner and environmental factors. This rhythm regulates, among other things, the sleep pattern, body temperature, heart activity and blood pressure, hormone secretion, oxygen/consumption and metabolism of an organism.
The circadian biological clock is controlled by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This is a group of cells in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, together with the pituitary gland and other hormone-producing organs (think of your thyroid gland, and parathyroid glands), regulates the hormone balance in your body. For this purpose, the concentration of hormones is adjusted. You can imagine that in a situation where you have to exercise explosively you need more cortisol (stress hormone) than at rest.
SCN – Nucleus Suprachiasmaticus
The SCN cells located in the hypothalamus respond to light and dark signals. Via the optic nerve of the eye, light travels to the SCN, signaling the internal clock that it is time to go to sleep. The SCN then sends signals to other parts of the brain that control, for example, hormone release, body temperature, and other functions that make us feel sleepy in this case. In the evening, for example, your body temperature drops and your digestion slows down. In addition, melatonin is produced in the epiphysis, also known as the pineal gland (see photo on the right). This gland is located just below the hypothalamus. When all these processes get going, the night can begin.
In the morning this process is reversed. Towards the end of sleep, just before you wake up, nerve cells of the hypothalamus release proteins called orexins. You can see this as an alarm clock and wake us up.
Biorhythm in balance
The biological clock is therefore also controlled by external influences. Disruption of this biological clock has detrimental effects on human physiology and research by Masri (2015) suggests that this disruption can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and cancer. Your biorhythm therefore has a major influence on your health and should be in balance.
The biological clock is set to a fixed rhythm. You wake up from the light and during the day you are active and when it gets dark you go back to sleep. The use of electric lighting in this modern age disrupts this rhythm. In addition, moving to a different time zone is also such a disruption. Your biological clock is not in sync with your environment at that moment. The well-known jet lag, which almost everyone has experienced at some point. Your sleep-wake rhythm is disrupted and this has a negative effect on the circadian rhythm.
Disruption to the circadian rhythm can create a wide variety of stresses on your cells. Which cells lead below will be told in my next blog.
Did you know.
1. Morning people have a shorter sleep-wake cycle.
People who get up early in the morning have a short sleep-wake cycle. This one is slightly shorter than 24 hours. As a result, in the evening these people get tired earlier and wake up earlier in the morning.
2. When you spend more hours outside go to bed earlier.
We now spend 90% of our time indoors. Although it is light enough inside to see, it is about 20 to 25% brighter outside than inside. Even on a cloudy day in the middle of winter. So spending more time outside gives you more light and more alertness. Your biological clock shifted to about 1 hour to 1.5 hours. This means that you get tired earlier in the evening and therefore go to bed earlier and wake up earlier in the morning. So more getting outside!
3. Evening people are more affected by summer time.
25% indicate that they are clearly an evening person. These people are more bothered by getting up an hour earlier when summer time starts.
Tips to keep your biological clock in balance.
1. Avoid blue light as much as possible in the evening. Think about no phone / laptop before going to sleep and make sure it is dark in your room.
Too much light in the evening will negatively affect the production of melatonin. As a result, too much light in the evening has a negative effect on your night’s sleep, but also on other processes in your body. Think about your immune system and wound healing.
2. Eat as much as possible at set times.
In that case, your body knows where it stands and can adjust to it. Due to a regular eating pattern, you will experience less hunger between meals. Your biological clock controls appetite hormones.
Beri, K., Milgraum, S. S. (2016) Rhyme and reason: the role of circadian rhythms in skin and its implications for physicians. Future science
Desotelle, J. A., Wilking, M. J., Ahmad, N. (2012) The circadian control of skin and cutaneous photodamage. Department of dermatology, photochemistry and photobiology.
Hettwer, S., Gyenge, E. B., Obermayer, B. (N.D.) Influence of cosmetic formualtations on the skin’s circadian clok.
Masri, S., Kinouchi, K., Sassone-Corsi, P. (2015) Circadian clocks, epigenetics and cancer. Current Opinion, 27-1.
Also read Part II: How biorhythms affect skin.
The biorhythm is a flexible clock system, with a period of approximately one day that continuously adjusts to the timing of ambient light and sunlight. The light from electronic devices that reach part of your brain (SCN) through your eyes also affects your skin. But what effect does this have on your skin?