Circadian Rhythms

By Aparajita 2021-04-30

We are proud members of Genus Workaholic.

Hustle, hustle, hustle! We live on granola bars, carry our wardrobe in a bag, and Catch a Snoozie if We Can. As firm believers in the god of power naps, we take it for granted that sleeping on the run is an acquired skill, one that indelibly boosts our productivity and self-esteem.

Scientifically, our bodies are programmed according to an internal mechanism called the circadian rhythm. This is responsible for determining when our bodies should generate melatonin - to make us register fatigue and sleepiness - or cortisol - to jolt us into an alert state.

But sleep? Isn’t that for the weak? This week, there are presentations to be prepped for, interviewers to charm, empires to envision. There’ll always be time enough to catch up on naps when the application season is over, when the dreaded boards pass by, when there is nothing better to do … 

Before we know it, we’re yawning away entire days. And no number of espresso shots or quality time with our favorite memory foam pillow can drive away the bags beginning to form under our eyes.

The bigger concern here is not the number of hours we eventually spend trying to catch up on sleep, but the lack of a proper schedule. Thrown off its circadian rhythm, our brain does not know when it’s supposed to keep us up or put us to sleep. So it shifts to flight-or-fight mode. This is why errant power-naps at odd hours of the day have a restless quality and are often plagued with daymares.

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Though we are one of the most resilient species on the planet, we are also, ironically, very fragile. In fact, sustaining oneself without a proper circadian rhythm for extended periods may lead to insomnia, obesity, anxiety, diabetes, and even serious mental health disorders such as bipolar syndrome where we experience severe mood swings which may escalate to delirium or blackouts.

To avoid living in this state of constant jet lag, we need to pick a circadian rhythm that best suits our needs and stick to it! On the off-chance that we do fall off the sleep wagon, resetting one’s circadian rhythm isn’t impossible. Hint: it involves giving in to the “early to bed, early to rise” regime we so love to hate.

Adhering to a tentative routine is a massive help in rewiring our circadian rhythm. Apart from that, engaging in physical activities, upscaling the #sunkissed hours, or dosing down on caffeine doesn’t hurt either! Although power naps are so named because they aid the current work culture, it is important to power down on these, and adhere to longer, more systematic sleeping patterns instead.

And if you need more incentive, we would suggest you go on a hunt for your favorite bedtime story. Channel your inner Goldilocks from The Three Bears. Find a mattress that’s “not too hard, nor too soft, but just right!” and read your way from O(nce upon a time) to Z(zz…)