Sleep is not just about rest and recovery from a busy day. Our bodies are operating on a 24 hour (circadian) clock that needs resetting every night.
We used to think this clock’s rhythm was entirely controlled by the brain, but now science suggests nearly every cell in the body has its own internal clock.
Just this week, three American scientists were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their discovery of the way these cellular clocks work.
Cellular clocks impact how our body functions in many ways. Their rhythms impact everything from hormone levels to metabolism to how the immune system fights off infection.
The 24 hour rhythm of these clocks never stops. However, environmental signals such as temperature or daylight and darkness impact their rhythm. Other external signals such as social interaction and eating impact these clocks as well.
Sleeping at night in a completely dark, cool room sends an important reboot signal to these cellular clocks. Whereas, late night snacking and screen time (TV watching, computer work, social media checks) can completely disrupt these biologic rhythms.
When cellular rhythms are disrupted due to lack of quality sleep, the systems they control become impaired. This often leads to mood or depressive disorders, weight gain, and chronic infections.
This is why health experts have become so focused on improving sleep. For many of us, just a few small changes to our sleep habits can lead to big improvements in our overall health by resetting these cellular clocks.
Do your cells get the reset they need each night?