Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. It helps us to restore our energy, consolidate memories, and regulate our mood. However, many of us struggle to get enough sleep, and this can have a detrimental impact on our health. In the UK, it is estimated that around a third of adults suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders.
One of the key factors that influence our sleep patterns is our circadian rhythm. This is our internal biological clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, and it is controlled by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Our circadian rhythm is affected by various external cues, such as light exposure, social interaction, and temperature.
One of the most important cues that regulate our circadian rhythm is light exposure. Exposure to natural daylight in the morning helps to reset our biological clock and promotes wakefulness, while exposure to artificial light in the evening can disrupt our sleep patterns. This is why it is recommended to avoid using electronic devices before bedtime, as the blue light they emit can interfere with our circadian rhythm.
Another factor that can affect our circadian rhythm is our lifestyle. For example, people who work night shifts or have irregular working hours may find it more difficult to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle.
If you are struggling with sleep, it is important to seek advice from a healthcare professional, who can help to identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.