Why an irregular sleeping pattern is causing more harm than you think

Are there certain periods in the day where you are constantly feeling tired while other times you feel energised? This is caused by what is known as our “circadian rhythm”, commonly referred to as our internal body clock.

What is your circadian rhythm?

Your circadian rhythm is determined by our regular habits and actions throughout the day. As humans we thrive on routine and our energy levels are no different. This all stems from your sleeping habits on how much sleep the person is getting each night, and also what time they decide fall asleep.

Going to sleep at irregular times and disrupting your circadian rhythm may affect you negatively. Certain things that cause the disruption may be social stress, jet lag, shift work, overeating and more. The circadian rhythm controls the way our body operates every day, from our reactions, hormones and also the way our liver and kidney functions.

The effect of daylight and darkness

Exposure to daylight or any sort of light for that matter in the early hours of the day fuels the body and mind, boosting feelings of alertness, energy and wakefulness. Light exposure at night can be very bad as it can prevent yourself from having refreshing sleep, therefore making it harder for yourself to fall asleep. 

Darkness on the other hand is fundamental to sleep. When you’re placed in darkness your mind triggers the body to let it know that it’s time to rest. Your body will release melatonin which will then initiate your muscles to relax, increase drowsiness and then body temperature lowers. This is why your body clock corresponds with daytime and night-time.

Why you are at risk

There are a number of potential factors that come from disrupting your circadian rhythm, these include:

·      Weight gain

·      Reckless behaviour

·      Slower thinking

·      Along with other behavioural and psychological changes are potential factors  

Regaining your body clock

Here are some tips that might be able to fix that disrupted body clock:

·      Avoid taking naps as this could be the main cause of an irregular body clock. After your nap you will feel revitalised for an extended period of the day, therefore causing you to continuously sleep at later times during the night

·      Your bed should only be used for sleeping and resting. This is important as a lot of people love to study and eat on their bed and build these habits. This habit mentally doesn’t sit right, and you will potentially begin to feel restless when trying to sleep at night

·      If you love to exercise but your sleeping pattern isn’t the best, then try to plan your workouts at an earlier time of the day. It is said that the latest you should do physical activity is four hours prior to bedtime

·      Avoid eating large meals and consuming caffeine before your bedtime. You will need to wait for your food to digest, and the caffeine to die out from your system

·      Lastly, your sleeping environment should be as comfortable as possible. Such things as, having a completely dark room and adjusting the temperature could make for an easier sleep

Your circadian rhythm should be taken care of in order for your body to be able to function properly each day. It also leads to a happier and more comfortable lifestyle as you won’t need to unnecessarily keep switching your body clock. Keep in mind that it’s not a fast process when fixing your sleeping patterns, but consistently working on it will definitely lead to a more peaceful night’s rest!

If are experiencing regular nights of disrupted sleep, talk to your pharmacist about how you can effectively provide yourself relief and receive a good night’s rest.


Adam Shakespeare