May 13, 2020
You probably know by now if you are a morning or a night person. The natural tendency to sleep and be most active at a certain time of the day is known as a chronotype. The time of day when your brain is at peak performance is determined by your chronotype. People who are early to bed and are most energetic in the morning are aptly known as “larks”. At the other end are “Owls”— those who are most active at night, and sleep later as well. Though there may be external factors such as work timings and travel, this propensity for a particular chronotype is innate and depends on your internal body clock. This internal body clock, in turn, determines a very important bodily function known as the circadian rhythm.
The internal body clock that governs your sleep and wake-times impacts nearly every bodily function. The physical and mental changes caused by this internal clock in your body are known as circadian rhythms. While circadian rhythms are largely guided by your genes and other natural factors particular to your body, the environment around you can also alter them.
One of the most prominent stimuli is light. Your body is naturally programmed to be active when it is light and sleep when it is dark. The nervous system is deeply connected with this internal master clock. When daylight fades, your eyes signal your brain to produce the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. When the sun rises again, your brain is signaled to reduce the melatonin levels.
Functions such as body temperature, hormone production, metabolism, eating habits, and brain activity all fluctuate in a 24-hour cycle and are deeply impacted by your circadian rhythm. When they get out of sync or are disturbed, complications in your health may arise. Besides disruptions in daily activities such as tiredness, decreased alertness, and issues with decision making, these fluctuations have been linked to disorders such as diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Being one of the two chronotypes isn’t necessarily better than the other since most of our circadian tendencies seem to be natural and of genetic predisposition. You need to follow a healthy lifestyle that best suits your natural body clock. For more information on sleep-related conditions, book an appointment with our specialists at the Brain and Spine Institute at Sagar Hospitals.