Circadian Rhythms

Jun 18, 2024
Our circadian rhythms, which govern ALL our internal biological clocks that regulate sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature, and ALL other physiological processes, are primarily synchronised by environmental cues called zeitgebers.

The key zeitgebers that entrain your circadian system are:
  1.  Light/Dark Cycles: 
    • Light, designed to be natural light from the sun, is the most powerful zeitgeber. Any light, at any time, can act as a zeitgeber (so it will influence the timing of our clocks)
    • Earth's light-dark cycle, which is linked to the day-night rhythm, provides the primary cue for synchronising the central circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus in our brain. Our eyes have a direct passageway to the SCN
    • Exposure to light, particularly in the morning, can advance the circadian phase, while light exposure in the evening can delay it. So if you want to be able to fall asleep earlier, morning light is most important! 
  2.  Social/Activity Cues: 
    • Social cues like noise, schedules, meal times, and activity patterns can also influence circadian rhythms, but to a lesser extent than light. If these events (plus their lighting conditions!) fall outside the usual rhythms of Earth, there is a mismatch - and/or if there is little rhythm, and these event schedules are chaotic, so will be our inner clocks.
  3.  Food Intake: 
    • The timing of food intake has been shown to affect circadian rhythms, acting as a secondary zeitgeber. Not only do circadian rhythms influence when we eat, but when we eat may alter our circadian rhythms.
    • Our microbiome, plus certain metabolic processes and hormones involved in digestion exhibit circadian rhythmicity.
    • Timed meals therefore play a role in synchronising peripheral circadian rhythms in humans and may have particular relevance for patients with circadian rhythm disorders, extensive social or activity based calendars, those who chronically choose late night activities (eg devices), shift workers, and transmeridian travelers
  4. Earth's EMF (and potentially man-made EMFs). We have the ability to detect and respond to the Earth's magnetic field through a process called magnetoreception, so changes in the Schumann's resonance can affect us. Studies have shown that habitual and frequent use of mobile phones is associated with less favorable sleep duration, night awakenings, and parasomnia (abnormal sleep behaviors) in children. 

    Numerous research studies indicate that high density urban design, and/or high rise buildings plus the commonly used building materials such as reinforced concrete with embedded steel bars can partially block the earth's geomagnetic field and Schumann resonances due to creating Faraday cage-like conditions. 

    Grounding in nature, aka direct contact with Earth's surface with our skin, helps our body to more positively interact with earth's natural electromagnetic fields which can be partially blocked by non-conductive materials and the sea of invisible man-made electromagnetic pollution 
  5. Temperature: 
    • Changes in ambient temperature, especially the drop in temperature during the night, can provide cues for circadian entrainment. Sleeping in a very cool room is best :) 

While light is considered the most potent zeitgeber, circadian rhythms are influenced by the integration of multiple environmental cues, including EMFs, social cues, food intake patterns, and temperature fluctuations. 

LIGHT regulates our circadian rhythms at the molecular level, with specific pathways and mechanisms.

To foster further development and progress, the paradigms of medical science and wellness medicine must evolve.

There are far too many unresolved medical challenges that affect people globally... eg the ongoing pandemic of chronic non-communicable diseases remains a significant issue, with current medical approaches unable to fully heal or even completely explain these conditions affecting internal organs. We also face the rising problems of antibiotic resistance, comorbidity and multimorbidity, polypharmacy and the side effects of drugs, accelerated aging, cancer, neurodegeneration, and unprecedented issues with eye health and vision.

That's why I am (and you are, being here with me!) transitioning from the molecular level of understanding the structure of tissues and metabolism of substances in our body to the quantum level :)