Chronobiology and Emotional Regulation, plus common Chronobiology Terms

Feb 27, 2024

The relationship between circadian rhythms and emotional regulation is intricate and significant, impacting various aspects of mental health and well-being. Here are some key insights: 

  1.  Association with Mood Regulation: There is a strong association between the circadian system and mood regulation, with disrupted circadian rhythms affecting behavioural health and psychiatry, including mood disorders. There is a bidirectional relationship between mood disorders and circadian rhythms 
  2.  Circadian Leadership: Circadian rhythms can influence affect, emotion regulation, and capacity for positive interactions within leadership and team dynamics, as well as family and other interpersonal dynamics.
  3.  Emotion Regulation Strategies: Circadian typology has been linked to emotion regulation strategies, metacognitions, and assertiveness in healthy adults, indicating a connection between individual chronotypes, diurnal rhythm alignment and emotional processing

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Feel confused by all the circadian language? Here's a simple list to support you;

  1. Circadian Rhythm:

    • Explanation: Your body's internal clock that orchestrates various biological processes over a 24-hour cycle, governing sleep-wake patterns, metabolism, hormones, neurotransmitters, healing and growth, energy levels, and more. Literally everything inside your body!

      The circadian system evolved to generate daily rhythms in physiological functions and biological processes. These rhythms are synchronised to and, importantly, can anticipate the ~24 h environmental cycles brought about by the Earth’s rotation. Twenty-four-hour rhythms in physiology, as experienced in everyday life, result from a combination of the influence of circadian rhythms (endogenous ~24 h rhythms that persist under constant conditions) and behavioural and environmental influences.
  2. Melatonin:

    • Explanation: A hormone produced by the pineal gland that regulates sleep-wake cycles; often referred to as the "sleep hormone", as it increases sleep efficiency, duration, and reduces sleep onset latency... and has MANY other functions and benefits eg antidepressant, antioxidant, neuroprotective, immune support, cardioprotective, hormonal and bone support.
  3. Chronotype:

    • Explanation: Your individual biological predisposition for being a "morning person" or a "night owl."
  4. Entrainment:

    • Explanation: Aligning your internal biological clock with external cues, such as light and dark cycles, to maintain a synchronised rhythm.
  5. Circadian Disruption:

    • Explanation: Upsetting the natural rhythm of your internal clock, often due to too little time outside, exposure to artificial light during the day and at night. irregular sleep patterns, mistimed eating and social activities
  6. Biological Clock:

    • Explanation: The internal mechanism that regulates various physiological and behavioral processes in a predictable pattern.
  7. Jet Lag:

    • Explanation: Disruption of circadian rhythms caused by rapid travel across time zones, leading to fatigue, metabolism disturbances, sleep disturbances, and difficulty adjusting.
  8. Shift Work Disorder:

    • Explanation: Disruption of circadian rhythms due to irregular work hours and light/sound exposure, leading to sleep difficulties and other health issues.
  9. Light Therapy:

    • Explanation: Using natural or man made light devices to regulate circadian rhythms, often employed to treat conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sleep, mood, skin  disorders and inflammation.
  10. Chrononutrition:

    • Explanation: Aligning food intake with your body's and Earth's circadian rhythm to optimise digestion and metabolism.
  11. Diurnal Rhythms:

    • Explanation: Biological rhythms that follow a 24-hour cycle, including variations in body temperature, hormone levels, and cognitive functions.
  12. Internal Desynchronisation:

    • Explanation: Misalignment of different internal biological clocks, leading to health challenges and disrupted sleep-wake patterns.
  13. Peripheral Clocks:

    • Explanation: Localised biological clocks in tissues and organs outside the brain, influencing specific functions in response to circadian cues (eg skin, gut, liver etc)
  14. Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN):

    • Explanation: A region in the brain's hypothalamus serving as the master clock, coordinating circadian rhythms in response to light and dark cues. This clock runs slightly faster than peripheral clocks to ensure best synchronisation!
  15. Zeitgeber:

    • Explanation: meaning 'time giver'. External cues, such as light, temperature, or social interactions, that help synchronise your internal clock with the external environment.
  16. Ultradian Rhythms:

    • Explanation: Shorter biological rhythms occurring within a 24-hour cycle, influencing processes like hormone release and sleep cycles.
  17. REM Sleep:

    • Explanation: Rapid Eye Movement sleep, a stage associated with vivid dreams, memory consolidation, and overall cognitive function.
  18. Biological Age:

    • Explanation: An estimate of your body's age based on various health markers, influenced by circadian rhythms and lifestyle factors.
  19. Sleep Hygiene:

    • Explanation: Healthy sleep habits and practices that promote quality and restorative sleep, crucial for overall well-being.
  20. Circadian Misalignment:

    • Explanation: Discrepancy between internal circadian rhythms and external cues, contributing to health issues and a sense of desynchrony.