Messing With Your Body Clock Can Lead To Depression And Worse

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Are you the kind who is hyperactive at night and feel sleepy or grumpy during the day?

Do you feel exhausted during the day and feel the need to take a quick power nap? Then you probably need to start paying heed to your body clock and sleep pattern.

Researchers and experts opine that tampering with your body-clock can lead to mood instability, sense of loneliness, irritability and can even trigger bipolar disorder and depression.

Dr Seemab Shaikh
Dr Seemab Shaikh

“It is critical to maintain the body clock since the entire hormonal changes/secretion or the refreshing of the brain happens when we sleep,” says Dr Seemab Shaikh, ENT surgeon and National President of the Indian Association of Surgeons for Sleep Apnea. “The brain requires a minimum time rest and to replenish oxygen. Here, following a specific sleep-wake pattern or Circadian rhythm is important.

Interfering with our circadian rhythm can affect physical and mental wellness in the long run

This natural sleep-wake rhythm is known as the circadian rhythm. A disruption of this may be considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. When the circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can cause symptoms that range from daytime sleepiness to depression.

“There are 90 minutes cycles which require us to go into deep of sleep and then come out of it. We need a minimum of five such cycles, or roughly about seven and a half hours of sleep. This will optimise the proper replenishment need of the body leaving you fresh and energetic. Long screen time, with harsh blue lights emitting could severely confuse your circadian rhythm and cause you extended sleep loss, especially if the time periods in which you’re staring at those screens come anywhere close to the sun going down, when your body naturally knows it’s time to sleep soon, to decrease your exposure to blue lights if you can’t decrease screen time (due to work or other circumstances) look into glasses such as lunettes anti lumiere bleue and experience natural sleep again.

Also, whenever we are woken up by an alarm clock, the 90-minute sleep cycle is disturbed and we could wake up to feel cranky, groggy and irritated, as compared to when we wake up naturally with the biological clock. The minute we get forcibly woken out of sleep, the cycle is broken and that’s how the irritability and the mood swings come in.

Short term consequences or Neuro cognitive symptoms that come up in cases of sleep disturbance/deprivation include early morning headaches, irritation, short temper, loss of memory, lack of concentration and possible impairment of motor skills.

Therefore, we need to have a biological clock which puts us to sleep at a certain time and wakes us up automatically when the cycles are over,” Shaikh explains. Some people may find that their biological clock doesn’t allow them to fall asleep at a suitable time, maybe even not at all. Lack of sleep could have a serious impact on your health as you’re not letting your body go through that period of rest and relaxation. To help get your body in the right state for your biological clock, taking something similar to this lindsay og marijuana strain could help to give you the recommended amount of sleep in order to wake up feeling refreshed. It is important that we all strive to reach the required hours of sleep.

The sleep requirement differs during our life cycle. For instance, an infant need nearly 15-16 hours of sleep and then the sleep requirement keeps on decreasing as we grow older because the Basal metabolic rate (BMR) of the body also reduces.

Sharing how shift workers should keep a check on their sleep cycles, Dr. Shaikh says, “In case of shift workers, their cycle is slightly different. When they are working for say a night shift, then the body starts adapting to it. Yet, it is more sensible to carry on with any specific shift they want to. If they change shifts frequently, then the body is not getting required time to adapt to any of the cycles and hence they are affected more. Keeping with a specific shift pattern will not only prove to be beneficial to the employee, but it will also help employers to easily fill in their employee time tracking schedules if the shifts remain the same each week. This way they will be able to adapt to their sleep cycle, making it easier for them to get to sleep.

Given an option, it is advisable to stick to any one shift for at least a month, so that the body adjusts to the sleeping pattern.

“However, is it not okay to sleep in the day and stay awake during the night. During the day, there is a lot of melatonin released and that is meant to keep the body awake and have a good sleep at night.

When we sleep through the day, we lose on a lot of it, which again is not beneficial for us. The best thing to do is follow a specific pattern, sleep and wake up at a particular time and let the circadian rhythm take over naturally,” adds Dr Shaikh.

“When I shifted to Delhi, I was offered a night shift at a company. Initially, I did have to face difficulty in adjusting to my schedule of waking up at 4PM and sleeping at 5AM. Soon, my health was affected,” says Jaspreet Singh (28), a chartered accountant.

I was diagnosed with migraine and I lost a lot of weight too, but thankfully, I realised that it was because of my changed lifestyle and sleeping patterns.

I have resorted to an hour of physical activity and stick to a schedule with my meals and sleep in the interest of my health, since my job timings cannot be adjusted.

“I prefer working at night since it is very peaceful and calm,” says Nidhi Priya (25), a writer and artist. “But off late, sleeping late and waking up only at 1PM, has affected me.

I started feeling cranky and anxious all the time. I would then eat at the wrong time too. It was because of my sleeping patterns diagnosed my doctor.

My lifestyle hasn’t changed a lot, but I do try to wake up early, eat my breakfast and go for a walk to keep me fresh and active through the day,” Nidhi adds.

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Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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