Dr. Avnish Jolly:Biological clock is not the only thing that reminds you to shut eyes; a new study by Researchers, Johns Hopkins University found has found that it’s actually light that governs sleeping patterns and hormone production. Eyes use light to reset your biological clock through a mechanism that is separate from your ability to see. The findings suggest that people who have trouble sleeping or seasonal depression may be having a malfunction that is contributing to their inability to detect light, which in turn may adversely affect their biological clocks.
Researchers genetically modified laboratory mice so that a particular set of retinal ganglion cells — the ones that receive input from the rods and cones of the eyes and send information to your brain — no longer functioned. The mice were still able to use light to see normally, but had great difficulty synchronizing their circadian rhythms to light or dark cycles.
The most important part of health maintenance that many overlook. They are insensitive to the fact that electrical lighting is a relatively recent innovation and less than a century ago this simply was not available. This modern convenience has sabotaged the health of a large percentage of the population for not paying close attention to how to make adjustments for this modern-day convenience. Organisms evolved to adjust themselves to predictable patterns of light and darkness, in a physiological cycle known as the circadian rhythm. Once artificial light effectively varied the length of a day, the average night’s sleep decreased from around ten consistent hours to roughly six, varying from one night to the next.
Electricity and efficient lighting have clearly provided major benefits to society; these benefits come with a price betrayal of inner clock. It would serve well to do a thorough “light check” of bedroom, as any source of light — even one as tiny as the green glow from clock radio — could be interfering with ability to sleep, and more importantly, your long term health and risk of developing cancer.
While it’s typically thought that biological clock is what tells us when it’s time to wake up or go to sleep, light and dark signals actually control biological clock. To get more specific, a part of brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) — a group of cells in your hypothalamus — controls biological clock. And the cells that make up your SCN respond to light and dark signals.
Light actually travels through eye’s optic nerve to your SCN, where it signals your body’s clock that it’s time to wake up. Light also signals SCN to initiate other processes associated with being awake, such as raising your body temperature and producing hormones like cortisol and other natural calls.
Meanwhile, when eyes signal to SCN that it’s dark outside, body will begin to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep and radically decreases risk of cancer. There are many studies on this powerful association. The more sleep is disrupted by light pollution, the lower melatonin levels and the greater your risk of developing cancer becomes.
Body’s internal clocks maintain the functions of brain, lungs, liver, heart and even skeletal muscles and influence so many things — from your pulse rate to heart rate to body temperature and hormone production — that when they’re thrown out of whack all kinds of things can happen. A disrupted body clock may ruin the health.
Melatonin is secreted primarily in brain and at night it triggers a host of biochemical activities, including a nocturnal reduction in body’s estrogen levels and helps in health sex-life.
It’s thought that chronically decreasing melatonin production at night — as occurs when you’re exposed to nighttime light — increases your risk of developing cancer. In fact, one of the first studies linking cancer to light showed that blind women have a 36 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to sighted women. Why? Because they are unreceptive to light. This means that their bodies maintain high melatonin levels at night regardless of how much light is in the room.
Body depends on biological clock to steadily regulate sleep/wake cycle, but when this process gets thrown off balance, it can cause disorder on health. It is actually quite easy to disrupt body clock. For instance, all of the following can confuse your body and make it think should be awake when should be sleeping, or vice versa:
• Eating in the middle of the night or too close to bedtime
• Staying up late and working the night shift
• Turning on a light in the middle of the night
• Using a night light
• Switching time zones (Through Tour and travels)
Making simple changes in bedroom to keep the light out during the night can have a major impact on sleep and sex-life. One should visit his doctor when feels not sleeping well and disturb life style also. One can achieve sound sleep in own bedroom by:
• Installing blackout drapes
• Getting rid of your electric clock radio this includes the TV also.
• Avoiding night lights of any kind
• Regular Exercise and Yoga