Circadian rhythm regulates the hormones and our hormones affect more than our reproductive system.
Sleep is not given enough of a priority these days. It’s not just sleep, but what time we go to sleep that matters.. Many of us spend too long on the computer at night and don't get to bed til 11 or 12. Both short and long term lack of sleep, and disruption to our circadian rhythm is incredibly detrimental, and it affects every system of the body.
Circadian Rhythm, is essentially the term given to our natural biological clock. Animals and plants have one too. We are all tied in to the rhythm of nature, the rising and going down of the sun. In TCM, you should go to bed with the sun and get up with the sun, in order to help live a healthy balanced life. Western thinking and science also recognizes this and has analyzed why this is so.
Light has an effect on the body, and diminishing light, as the sun goes down, is a signal to the body, and it releases melatonin, the sleep hormone. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. This is the yin, and serotonin is the yang. It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body's circadian rhythm. When it is dark, your body produces more melatonin; when it is light, the production of melatonin drops. Being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day can disrupt the normal feedback mechanism of the endocrine system and the melatonin/serotonin levels. This is why jet lag and shift work disrupt the endocrine system..
Basically, Circadian Rhythm regulates everything in the body. It is our innate mechanism for balancing our yin and yang and it is driven by light and dark.
If our hormones are out of whack, a whole range of illnesses can occur; insomnia, depression, bi-polar disorders, psychological problems, mood swings, cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure problems, menstrual irregularities, hearing and sight problems, constipation, digestive problems, weight gain/loss, poor immunity... etc.
Dr Jacqui Stocks Jacqui studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) at Victoria University (Melbourne), and SSNT (Southern School of Natural Therapies. She completed a bachelor of health sciences (acupuncture and herbal medicine) at Victoria University, followed by an internship at ShuGuang Hospital in Shanghai. (gynecology, oncology, acupuncture and internal medicine departments).
Outside of TCM, Jacqui studied applied philosophy, photography and architecture. She follows mostly Taoist and Buddhist philosophy in her own approach to life and health. She is a traveler, a realist, and champion for the underdog, who loves animals and all things in nature. When not at work, she can usually be found at a dog beach or cafe with her dog Gracie, doing yoga or creating some kind of 'food as medicine' culinary delight/disaster.