The Circadian Rhythm: Health Implications

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 650 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 3, 2020

Words: 650|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 3, 2020

While many associate the term “circadian rhythm” with mainly sleep cycles, and the determination of being either a “morning or night person,” the circadian rhythm is more than that. The circadian rhythm is essentially the body’s natural internal clock--determiningand regulating physiological processes. A interrupted circadian rhythm can be considered to be either that one’s circadian rhythm does not reflect the standard of society’s circadian rhythm, or; one’s natural circadian rhythm is disrupted (Hines, J. , 2018). The difference between the two essentially lies in the standard for comparing one’s circadian rhythm. With the former, the standard is against others and society as a whole. With the latter, the standard is against oneself, and what someone’s individual baseline is, regardless of whether or not it follows societal standards.

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With the former, people may experience different eating and sleeping habits than the majority of society--for example, sleeping later or earlier than others. Conversely, with the latter, people’s standard of disruption is only within themselves--for example, sleeping earlier than what is normal for oneself. When the circadian rhythm is interrupted (for example, by daylight), people can experience adverse health effects (Psychology Today, n. d. ) because many natural biological processes are controlled by it. Furthermore, the effects of many diseases can be exacerbated by disrupted circadian rhythms. An implication of this is timing with medication; many medications can be more effective in managing diseases and symptoms if they are taken at certain times, however, the times at which patients are told to take medication may not be aligned with their own individual circadian times (Paul, M. 2018). More overt health effects of a disrupted circadian rhythm are sleep disorders, such as shift-work sleep disorder, and delayed sleep phase syndrome. Recently, researchers at Northwestern University have recently developed a blood test, TimeSignature, which can accurately identify the natural time reflected by our biological clocks. The blood test has the potential to help with numerous health issues mainly affected by the circadian rhythm, from identifying the optimal time to take a medication, to determining accuracy of diagnoses of cognitive disorders (Paul, M. 2018). Ultimately, and more generally, the test provides greater accessibility to an understanding of one’s personal health and wellbeing. Further research can be conducted with this tool to determine potential correlations between illnesses and biological timing, which can be extrapolated to predict the likelihood of getting a disease, and potentially predicting when people are going to get ill (Paul, M, 2018).

Some research has been conducted to examine whether circadian rhythms can be changed effectively, which may reduce risk factors of certain diseases. Knowing that there are many negative health effects associated with disrupted or irregular circadian rhythms, society should make significant changes in order to improve health overall. However, it is unreasonable to make such changes, such as changing shifts, removing overnight shifts, or requiring that doctors determine patients’ individual circadian rhythms before scheduling a surgery or prescribing a medication. As the world progresses, irregular work hours, shift work, and irregular sleep patterns have become the new norm. Furthermore, circadian rhythms can be regulated with regular eating schedules, and through lighting (Donnelly, G. F. , & McEachron, D. L. , 2012), however, in urban society today, it would be virtually impossible to regulate these processes for everyone in order to significantly “reset” and maintain standard circadian rhythms. For example, for some, overnight shifts and shift work may be ideal with their individual circadian rhythm. Naturally, there will never be a standard that is suitable for all. It is an individual’s responsibility to determine what situation and lifestyle would be best suited for their own health. Changes shouldn’t be made to try and control the circadian rhythms of society as a whole. With new technology such as TimeSignature being created, personal health can be better managed on an individual level. It is unreasonable to try and standardize everyone’s patterns to be the same.

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The Circadian Rhythm: Health Implications. (2020, February 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“The Circadian Rhythm: Health Implications.” GradesFixer, 26 Feb. 2020,
The Circadian Rhythm: Health Implications. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
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