The number of times I’ve said those words is insanely high. I’m gonna have to warn you, the following content is quite biology-based but trust me, it is very important for us teenagers with non-existent sleep schedules.
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. They are natural processes that occur in most living beings and respond to the light and dark changes in the environment. These rhythms are closely linked to our sleep cycles and as teenagers, we seem to have completely annihilated them.
Before we go on, there are two terms you’ll need to understand. The first one, the ‘biological clock’. Defined as ‘an inherent timing mechanism in a living system that is inferred to exist to explain the timing or periodicity of various behaviours and physiological states and processes. In layman’s terms, it is an organism’s natural internal timing device. The biological clock regulates the cycle of circadian rhythms also known as circadian cycles.
The second term is 'master clock'. I’m gonna skip the scientific definition and the fancy words, and straight-up tell you that it refers to the boss clock in our brains that coordinates all the biological clocks in a living being.
In an average teen circadian cycle, our energy is at its lowest from 3 am to 7 am. Following this, we have a burst of energy from 10 am to 1 pm. Our body temperature rises in the morning which leads to greater alertness and sharpness. We have an afternoon slump from 2 pm to 5 pm where our energy level reduces and we crave food (yes, those Lays cravings are supported by science). Here’s the best part, according to the cycle, we start feeling sleepy at 11 pm. Our sleep hormone, melatonin rises at this time. Oh and guess what? The blue light emitted from our wonderful phones and laptops suppresses melatonin leading to?.... You guessed it. Sleeplessness!
All those times your mum told you that your ruined sleep schedule is “because of that phone of yours”. She was right! Now the issue is, circadian rhythms impact our bodies more than we realize. They affect our eating habits, digestion, body temperature, and hormone release. When we use our phones right before sleeping to “set our alarms” is harmful. Despite the great amount of fun we have while scrolling through reels at 1 am and getting on video calls at 3 am, it ends up wrecking our biological clock which leads to destroyed circadian cycles.
I understand how difficult fixing sleep cycles is because mine’s messed up as well. But I realized the importance of it through research and I’m going to try fixing mine. All I can say is, maybe fix yours as well?