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Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: How Your Diet Plays a Role

Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 02:58 PM

Nature provides daily rhythms that enable the smooth and efficient functioning of organisms. The daily biological rhythms are attuned to external time cues, especially the natural light-dark cycle. Circadian, meaning “about a day," refers to the daily cycle of life, which includes sleeping and waking. The cycle is about 24 hours, and is commonly referred to as the biologic clock. Innumerable bodily functions happen in tune with the biologic clock. However, sleeping and waking comprise the most prominent circadian rhythm.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder is a condition where an individual’s biological clock is out of phase with the natural rhythms of sleeping and waking. Even when a person tries to alter their biological clock, it times and controls the person’s wake/sleep cycle according to the day/night schedule.

The condition may occur even in total blindness, during jet lag or shift work, or due to delayed sleep phase syndrome. This leads to a decrease in cognitive and motor skills. The biological clock can be naturally reset by about one to two hours per day. The situation can be helped to some extent by behaviors such as getting exposure to light; sleeping in a dark and quiet room, and by changing eating and exercise patterns.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder and diet are interrelated not as much by what should be eaten but by when one should eat. The role of diet in  Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder is to keep the bodily functions in tune with the biologic clock.

The two broad principles that guide circadian diet are as follows:
1. Eat protein in your morning meal, snack, and lunch. As Sidney Baker, M.D., an expert in the nutritional aspects of chronic health conditions, says in his book The Circadian Prescription, “emphasize fish, eggs, milk products, nuts, peanuts, soy, poultry, beans, and meat.”

2. Eat most of
your carbohydrates in the evening. You can eat any healthy foods that you like as long as you eat protein in the morning and carbohydrates in the evening.
Important dietary suggestions for circadian rhythm sleep disorder:
1.If you consume coffee, tea, or any stimulant, do it at a circadian neutral time, i.e., around 4 pm.

Early-evening alcohol consumption is acceptable, but the party should end by 10 pm.

Eat healthy oils

Drink eight glasses of water

Eat regular meals

Avoid artificial sweeteners

Avoid a high-fat diet
Some lifestyle changes such as regular eating, sleeping, waking, and exercising, keep the biological clock in rhythm and can keep you healthy.

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