Friday, April 3, 2009
Your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is closely
connected to many forms of insomnia. Contrary to popular
belief, circadian rhythm has more to do with the levels of
light than the time of day. This internal clock is what
tells us when to go to sleep, and when to wake up in the
The circadian rhythm IS the internal clock.These rhythms are
to some degree governed by hormones secreted by endocrine
glands throughout the day. And our body temperature and
overall mental acuity and alertness are only some of the
factors affected by the circadian rhythm.
Since the circadian rhythm influences alertness and our
energy level, for those with have a sleep disorder related
to their circadian rhythm, their internal clock is "off" and
they tend to feel alert when they should be tired or sleepy,
and tired when they should have much energy. This is very
common for those working the grave yard shift.
Light is one of the most influential factors in regulating
your circadian rhythm. When there are long periods of low
levels of light there is a tendency to feel more fatigued
and to suffer from low energy. This is very common in the
winter, especially in the northern areas where there is only
a few hours of light per day.
Correcting sleep disorders caused by, or related to, your
circadian rhythm can be done by light therapy specially
designed to slowly reset your circadian rhythm. The light is
delivered from what is called a "light box" which has the
correct wavelengths of light. 30-60 minutes of exposure to
the light in conjunction with a strict sleep schedule
explains the therapy.
The key to success with light therapy is to time the light
exposure correctly depending on your particular situation.