What is Circadian Rhythm and How Should Nutrition be?

What is the Circadian Rhythm?

Biological rhythms are defined as the biochemical, physiological and behavioral responses of living things to physical effects in the outside world. One of these biological rhythms is called the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is a biological cycle that takes about 24 hours and includes changes in sleep and wakefulness. In general, a healthy adult person completes 24 hours with 16 hours of wakefulness and 8 hours of sleep. In addition, the circadian rhythm is responsible for the performance of the heart, growth hormone, neurotransmitter secretion, and secretion of various hormones such as cortisol.

Disruption of circadian rhythm, which affects many hormones and therefore the system, can trigger diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension.

Circadian Rhythm and Nutrition:

Circadian rhythm and nutrition affect each other. Especially for individuals working in shifts, both sleep and feeding times can disrupt the circadian rhythm. Disruption of the rhythm leads to changes in the appetite mechanism together with the decrease in the amount of sleep. As a result, an increase in body fat mass can be observed in these individuals with the wrong energy taken at the wrong time. According to a study, how poor quality and insufficient sleep affects nutrition is summarized as follows:

  • • Increased consumption of food and snacks
  • • Less consumption of vegetables and fruits
  • • Irregular meal times
  • • Skipping breakfast

Suggestions for Maintaining the Circadian Rhythm:

  • • It is necessary to have a sufficient and balanced diet, to arrange the meal times and contents.
  • • Light emitted from electronic items affects the circadian rhythm. Therefore, make sure that there are no electronic items in the room.
  • • Stress should be avoided in daily life.
  • • Foods with high energy content such as chocolate should not be consumed in the evening.
  • • Individuals experiencing jet-lag should be fed according to the hours of the region they are in and should pay attention to the consumption of plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. In addition, beverages containing caffeine and alcohol should be avoided during the trip.
  • • Digestive system problems can be seen in shift workers. For this reason, it is recommended to consume fibrous food, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole wheat instead of white bread, bulgur instead of rice.

Factors Affecting Circadian Rhythm:

Light: The light emitted from electronic equipment disrupts the circadian rhythm.

Melatonin: The release of melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, begins at 21:00-22:00 and reaches its peak at 02:00-03:00 at night, and it is necessary to be asleep during this time.

Temperature: As the organism is adversely affected by high temperature, the circadian rhythm is disrupted.

Jetlag: Time difference affects metabolism negatively.

Shift working hours: The person is awake when he should be asleep, and this leads to disruption of the rhythm.