The biorhythm of wakefulness and sleep is better known as the circadian rhythm and is subject to much more body action than sleep and waking. The word circadian means "lasting about 24 hours" ( circa ≈ around, dies ≈ day). It is in the interest of our health that this rhythm be in line with civilian times. Today, it is very easy to mock this rhythm with artificial light, which has become one of the many toxic factors of today's environment. How to reverse it has been the subject of long discussions at the Department of Physiology UK's seminars, the content of which is the basis of this story.
Practical instructions how to move the internal clock back
People with a ruptured circadian rhythm are more likely to suffer from rush and anxiety than unfinished tasks, so I do not start with theories, but understandable, practical instructions on how to reverse the rhythm of sleep and wakefulness that has begun to "go" towards Late fall and getting up:
- Find out what time your inner clock shows. It's not hard. Just watch when he starts taking you to sleep. This is when the pineal gland, led by the internal clock signals, releases into the bloodstream the hormone of the night, melatonin. Subjective midnight occurs about 4 hours later.
- Set your alarm clock for 2.5 hours after the subjective midnight . Or in other words, 6.5 hours after you started sleeping.
- Turn off and go to sleep. When you start to sleep, then when you adjust the alarm, you should turn off all the lights if you have not left them before and go to sleep.
- After lying down, do not shine. You should avoid white light until the alarm sounds, even if you have trouble sleeping. This is an absolutely absolute requirement. Only weak red or yellow-red light, not a brighter small fire, is permissible. The white light must not shine for more than 30 seconds.
- When the alarm rings, light up the white light and watch for 3 minutes. Not close, of course, from a safe distance. This is the very step that moves the circadian clock.
- Turn off the light and, if possible, continue to sleep until the natural awakening.
- The inner clock should move about 15 minutes back. The next day, drowsiness and morning waking should come 15 minutes earlier.
- In the following days repeat the process until the desired backward shift is achieved.
- Measuring the time in the inner hours according to the sudden sensation of drowsiness requires that we do not use any sedatives or stimulants that would cause or drowsiness before. The feeling of drowsiness should only be an indicator of the melatonin influx from the epiphysis to the blood.
- If we are used to taking caffeine (coffee, black / green tea, energy drinks, etc.), restoring a healthy sleeping cycle is a chapter in itself - when sudden total caffeine withdrawal, we will want to sleep for a couple of days. During this time it will not be possible to find out what time our natural circadian clocks are showing.
- Adjusting the inner clock is important when the retina sees white light and darkness, not whether the brain is in a state of sleep or wakefulness. Evening use of sedatives in the internal time does not in itself move. It can only be helped by the fact that when we have closed eyes when we are forced to sleep, less light comes into the retina.
- The effects of drugs such as sedatives, caffeine and others on circadian rhythms are not properly studied. So far I would only say that the exception to the rule that the sedative biorhythm does not directly move can be melatonin itself, which is commercially offered as an atypical sedative and an antioxidant.
More detailed information on sleep rhythm and wakefulness
Circadian rhythm takes white light
Circadian rhythm resides in the suprachiasmatic core of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and receives information about light through the ancient retinohypotalamic pathway (ie, leading from the retina to the hypothalamus). This path is a small volume, forming only a few glutamate fibers. But it has a huge impact on our lives, and it is characterized by such conveniences that it is as if the personal computer, in addition to the normal keyboard, still had a special keyboard with ancient Greek numerals designed only to adjust system time. The light signal does not come from suppositories or rods, but from a number of retinal ganglion cells. They do not use rodopsin sticks or one of the three iodopine suppositories to detect light but have a fifth light-sensitive pigment, melanopsin, to their exclusive use. (A few more details can be found in the syllabus Biophysics by Helena Uhrová, , Available from the ICHT, where melanopsine is not mentioned). This pigment is particularly sensitive to the blue part of the light, so it responds well to the sun, while the light of fire ignores it too much. It is activated by light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, screens and white or blue diodes.
Melatonin - the circadian rhythm hormone, or the night hormone
The feeling of drowsiness, as well as other body processes, is related to the spilling of melatonin from the cerebral pineal gland (epiphysea, corpus pineale ). Once in a while, the cerebral plexus itself performed the function of the third eye - it had light-sensitive cells to adjust the internal clock through the sunlight penetrating the thin translucent skull into the brain. This is still the case with the litter and some birds. However, in our giant head, but in the skull epiphysis, no light penetrates, and therefore it must be given second-hand daytime information, a zigzag circuit emerging from the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus ( Moore1996ncp , see diagram on the right).
At night, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which in turn controls the sleeping rhythm in the rest of the body, including most of the brain cells, for which it is much more practical than to pull the cables from the SCN for such fun. But the fun stops when we sleep for a morning sleep or a meeting with the boss at work. Proper setting of circus clocks is also important to allow for an 8-hour sleep, which is one of the basic rules of the fight against obesity. (He is producing leptin above the morning in the body, so when we are sleeping in the morning, we have a bigger hunger over the day.)
Rhythm of Sleep and Waking - How to Destroy It
From the above, one of the simplest things we can do for our physical and mental health is to stop destroying the circadian rhythm. It is the easiest way to destroy it by working late into the night with white artificial light that shifts the rhythm of sleep and waking more and more forward to the wound. In the worst case, we wake up in the morning without a natural illumination, so we do not even have morning sun compensation to help partially correct the shift caused by evening artificial lighting. It soon happens that we want to sleep later in the evening and we get up early in the morning. After two weeks of such a regime, we can get into sleeping while taking a white morning and waking up at three in the afternoon (I'm talking about experience). We can also get to the same situation by air-way to the east - perhaps to Australia. When flying in the opposite direction, the relative shift of biorhythms is of course the opposite.
Rhythm of Sleep and Waking - How to Keep It
The main rule of maintaining a stable sleep and wake cycle is 8 hours before the planned morning wake. Even if we do not want to sleep. We do not have to interrupt work or entertainment, we do not have to go to bed and we do not have to take hypnotics, but we have to remove all artificial light from where we are. Short light (even for 3 minutes) biorhythm destroys us just as much as if we were shining an hour. More precisely, short lightning will completely abolish the effect of darkness that we have previously maintained with effort. Only weak red or yellowish light without blue and white components is permitted. When working in the dark in the computer, set the colors in the style of the red-black terminal. White light illumination must be shorter 30 seconds, the shorter the better. In terms of biorhythms, the most suitable red night lamps for room, toilet and bathroom. The advantage is when the room we sleep in has the morning sun. That's why the bedroom's windows should be east. When we use only light in the colors of the fire that our inner man is accustomed to, we will keep the circadian rhythms in normal. But when our rhythm deflects, we must actively move it back.
Yes, even the hard way of the alarm works, but ...
The rhythm of awakening can also be enforced by the wake-up method, as is the case with most people employed on a fixed-shift day shift. Just no matter when we went to sleep, set the alarm clock every morning early for a set time, and if we did not sleep enough, we'll be so tired tonight that we sleep as Sleeping Beauty just when we enter the bedroom. The problem, however, is that this method can only be re-run safely once again in accordance with the extinguishing rule 8 hours before waking up. Otherwise, we come to the situation that we have a regular wake-up regime, but at the expense of permanent sleep deprivation. We come to the most precious morning sleep when leptin is released in the brain. Lack of leptin causes more hunger over the day, not to mention sleepiness. Again, "hardness" must be applied at dinner. If we adhere to it (or we are compelled to observe it), waking up will not be needed.
Sleep and wake rhythm can be set by light signals but has a great inertia
The luminosity before the subjective midnight shifts the internal circadian rhythm forward, the illumination back after the subjective midnight. The maximum daily shift of the human clock is, if I remember, somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. However, the length or intensity of light is not important (unless it is too weak or shorter than 1 minute), but especially the time when it appears. If the experimental animals live in a mode when it turns off at 6 o'clock and lights up at 6 o'clock in the morning, a brief light at 5:30 will cause a small shift of circadian clock backwards (say, 5 minutes), a short light at 5:00 will cause a larger shift (say 10 minutes) and so on - the closer the morning light is at midnight, the greater the movement. The lights before midnight cause an analogous clock shift, the longer the light appears. The illumination at exactly midnight (within about 1 hour) does not cause any displacement.
This is not the case if the light is short or long. Our inner clock can give a strong light at night only a single interpretation - that the sun is above the horizon. And when the sun is one o'clock at 11 o'clock above the horizon for 3 minutes, then, according to the thinking of our clock machine, it was logical for the whole of the previous 5 hours. And when the artificial light comes on for 3 minutes at 3am, our clock machine will adjust the hands for a full step back (ie 15-30 minutes) when today's crazy sun comes out so early. The light does not matter for a few seconds, because it can be a storm with lightning. A bigger shift than 15-30 minutes a day, our internal clocks are not able to - with intercontinental flights or long-term overtaking in artificial white light does not count.