Circadian Rhythms: The Rhythms of Life

circadian rhythm

Ayurveda and nature form a key partnership in maintaining proper balance, order and intelligence in the human body because even the slightest health disruption may affect our natural rhythms.  This is when we should know more about the Circadian rhythms and its role in the proper functioning of the human body. Circadian rhythms, is the body cycle that tells our bodies when to eat, sleep and rise, the cycle is seen in animals, plants and even in fungi.

Understanding more about the circadian rhythms can be helpful and fruitful as it helps to keep our children balanced and healthy

Circadian Rhythms and its importance

Circadian rhythms are formed by a biologic clock in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) or more commonly known as, hypothalamus of our brain , the 24- hour biological rhythms are generated here. Some of the main examples of the circadian rhythms are sleep-wake cycle and rhythms in hormone production.  The irregular functioning of the SCI may result in, irregular sleep patterns and abnormal behavior. Proper and adequate sleep is an important aspect to keep our body fit and healthy especially for a child who is in the growing stage. Ayurveda suggest a early to bed routine for a child which is no later than sunset and much earlier for younger children, it also recommends the proper and regular times for eating for a child. Through Ayurveda yoga, a person can keep the SCI in proper order and can get a balanced lifestyle

The initial development

The light that we receive in our eyes plays a crucial role in the development of the circadian system and the artificial light sources from e electronic gadgets such as, cell phones and electronic devices adversely affect the system as it disturbs the sleep- wake cycle and the circadian rhythms. In order to minimize this issue, Apple installed a feature in iPhone which allows the user to change the color of the screen that suits during night time. Latest research shows that a disrupted circadian system may result in severe health issues such as, insomnia, anxiety and, bipolar disorder.

Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: A cause of concern

The SCN is located behind our eyes and, it also has photosensitive cells that have close association with the optic nerve. The body clock also helps in the production of cortisol- the hormone related to stress and happiness and also, melatonin, the hormone which helps in the sleep among animals.  Through proper ayurveda diet and practices one can maintain the proper functioning of these hormones. The cortisol is normally at its highest during daytime and, drops to low levels during evening and, rises again during the later part of night. The cortisol rhythm has an essential and important function: it synchronizes many of the clocks in other parts of our bodies, so they adopt a 24-hour rhythm. Importantly, they have different peaks and troughs relative to the time of day. So, our body prepares itself for the various events that happen as each day passes — for example, mealtime and bedtime. The normal daily production of cortisol gets disrupted when children experience stress, the cortisol level gets high if the stress prolongs and, It may even result in the lack of the usual cortisol reduction in the evening The bodily rhythms and, sleep and diet practices of the child gets disrupted eventually leading to an unhealthy child.

M for Meditation

Proper Ayurveda Meditation relieves stress for both children and adults. The practice of Transcendental Meditation is one among the many practices followed by an ayurveda practitioner. There are many Ayurveda hospitals in Kerala which give proper guidance to practice yoga at home itself. With proper meditation, one can normalize sleep patterns and regulate cortisol levels.

The Importance of a structured day

The simple and, consistent Ayurveda routine of going to bed early, rising early and having meals at same time each day is highly recommended in the present scenario, especially among teenagers ,who  are more prone to get affected by diseases due to their irregular lifestyle. The practice of eating the main meal at lunch will help to get restful sleep and, the use of gadgets while eating should also be minimized. Favor ayurveda diet which includes nutritious food with plenty of vegetables that are fresh, organic and well cooked, and if possible with all six tastes included. Outdoor games are a must for children during their growing stage as, they will pacify all the doshas and encourage children to be sleepy in the evening. Late-night video games, computer games, videos and TV badly affect the health of the child and, it may cause a disturbance to Vata dosha.  Several ayurvedic herbs are available in Kerala to control these doshas .Vigorous activity in the evening can elevate the heart rate thereby causing sleepless nights. The parents should provide an environment that allows the body of the child to honor the rhythms and, should also ask the child to follow a routine which is beneficial for them

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