Circadian rhythm: Becoming an early riser 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Students who prioritize regulating their circadian rhythm will experience important benefits in their physical and mental health and overall productivity levels. 

As a student, it is difficult to juggle all the responsibilities expected such as schoolwork, extracurricular activities, religious responsibilities, social activities, and organizing finances. Sometimes it may feel as though there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that is required as well as maintaining a regular social life. During this time of life, it has been normalized to skip out on sleep in order to get everything done. With the Sleep Foundation, Yazan Hamzeh and Dr. Anis Rehman discuss how establishing a sleep schedule in which an individual wakes up and goes to bed earlier is ideal in developing a healthy circadian rhythm and overall living a healthier life. 

What is a circadian rhythm?  

 According to the National Institutes of Health, the circadian rhythm is the body’s natural alarm clock that runs on a 24-hour system. This internal clock can manage the body’s sleep-wake cycle and other important biological processes. This cycle has a big impact on when an individual feels tired verses alert throughout the day and night. It is easy to disrupt one’s circadian rhythm, and it is important to be aware of these triggers to promote the most regulated circadian rhythm possible.  

Disrupting the circadian rhythm 

The National Institutes of Health describe that more often than not, students do not have a regulated sleep schedule, meaning they are going to bed and waking up at different times every single day. This is one of the simplest ways to confuse the body’s natural clock. Another way students struggle to regulate their cycle is through nighttime exposure to artificial light. Whether the light comes from a smartphone, laptop, or  lamp, this light can affect the body’s internal clock in a detrimental way. Another way students struggle to regulate their circadian rhythms is through poor sleep habits that they have developed in order to get through the day. Examples of this includeuntimely caffeine intake (meaning consumption of caffeine later in the day or even in the evening) and excessive napping throughout the day. 

Waking up and going to bed to early 

Overall, it is more beneficial to regulate circadian rhythm by going to bed earlier and rising earlier in the morning. This will not work if the individual is continuing to go to bed late as well as getting up early in the morning because that causes sleep debt. According to Dr. Raj Dasgupta of Healthline, the benefits of doing so far outweigh any extra hours of socialization, studying, or relaxing late at night. Through improved productivity levels, better overall mood and better mental health, individuals will wake up feeling even more refreshed and having the energy needed to face the day. Students need this level of energy to accomplish everything that is required of them.