One in four of us struggles with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, but did you know your body clock could be to blame?
Learning how to rebalance your body’s natural rhythm could be the key to curing sleep disorders and finally getting a good night’s sleep.
Known as the circadian rhythm, this internal body clock is on automatic repeat every 24 hours. It helps regulate our sleep and other functions such as our eating habits and body temperature.
Our body clock resets itself each day by using signals from external timekeepers, such as light and dark. For example, when it gets dark at night, light-sensitive cells in our eyes send a message to our body clock causing it to inhibit the release of waking hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and increase the production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
Anything that upsets the 24-hour cycle, such as the clocks moving forwards or backwards, jet lag, shift work, or even just a very late night, can have a detrimental effect on our sleep patterns, leading to problems like insomnia.
Experts also blame our 24-hour society for the increase in insomnia symptoms. Rolling news, 24-hour supermarkets, internet access whenever we like – all this continual activity is only possible thanks to artificial light, but it confuses our circadian rhythms.
The result? Forcing your body to be alert and active at a time it should be asleep not only squeezes the time available for sleep, it also triggers a stress response in the body that lowers the immune system, and puts a strain on the heart.
Get more information about insomnia and tackling tiredness in our dedicated section.
This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies