What is Circadian Rhythm?

By author photo Jenny Craig Team


Every one of your body cells runs on a predicable daily cycle. The triggers for this daily cycle are mostly due to light and darkness as the sun rises and falls during the day. This cycle is called the circadian rhythm and it is found in most living things including humans, animals and plants. Feeling awake during the day and sleepy at night is an example of your circadian rhythm at work.

Circadian Rhythm and Health

Circadian rhythms can influence alertness, sleepiness, hormone release, digestion, body temperature as well as a number of other important body functions. If you’re not in synch with your circadian rhythm you may not notice anything unusual, although you may feel a little ‘off’ or ‘not quite right’. If you’ve ever experienced jet lag or feel extra tired after turning a clock back for daylight saving or have worked a night shift, then you’ve experienced first-hand how your circadian rhythm can impact you. There is also emerging research that your circadian rhythm may also impact your overall health.

Circadian Rhythm and Weight

When your diet works with your natural body clock, it can help your weight loss efforts. During daylight hours, your body is able to burn kilojoules most effectively as it needs energy to function. This is why it can help to eat a nutritious and balanced diet during daylight and to focus more of your intake during the first half of the day. Then it’s also important to allow your body to rest and regroup over the night by giving it a break from food. This allows your body to go into rejuvenation mode, where your body’s cells aren’t distracted by metabolising food. Instead of digesting food, your body is able to get a break so that it can regenerate, repair and restore in preparation for the next day.

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