Ayurvedic treatment for Circadian Rhythm Disorders

What is Circadian Rhythm Disorders?

Circadian rhythm disorders are conditions in which there is a misalignment between an individual’s internal body clock and the external environment. The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural, 24-hour cycle that regulates various physiological processes, including the sleep-wake cycle. When this rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to difficulties in sleeping and waking at the appropriate times. These disorders can significantly impact daily functioning but are often treatable with lifestyle adjustments and medical interventions.

Types of Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Jet Lag Disorder

Occurs after traveling across multiple time zones, disrupting the body’s internal clock and causing sleep disturbances, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

Affects individuals who work non-traditional hours, such as night shifts or rotating shifts, leading to insomnia or excessive sleepiness.

Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD)

Characterized by a sleep schedule that is significantly later than the conventional time, common in teenagers and young adults.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder (ISWRD)

Involves going to bed and waking up much earlier than the typical schedule, often seen in older adults.

Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder (N24SWD)

The internal body clock runs longer than 24 hours, leading to progressively later sleep and wake times, frequently affecting blind individuals.

Symptoms of Circadian Rhythm Disorders

  • Difficulty falling asleep or waking up at desired times
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration and performance
  • Mood disturbances
  • Fatigue and lethargy

Causes of Circadian Rhythm Disorders

  • Jet lag from crossing time zones
  • Shift work or irregular work schedules
  • Lifestyle habits and poor sleep hygiene
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Neurological conditions
  • Lack of exposure to natural light

Allopathic Approach for Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Light Therapy

Adjusting the brightness and color temperature of light to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Bright light in the morning can help with waking up, while dim light in the evening promotes sleepiness.

Melatonin Supplements

Taking melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, can help align the circadian rhythm. Prescription medications like tasimelteon or ramelteon may also be used under medical supervision.

Sleep Hygiene Practices

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
  • Gradually adjust bedtime
  • Ensure adequate sleep duration
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Limit exposure to bright lights and screens before bed
  • Avoid alcohol, heavy meals, and excessive fluids near bedtime
  • Use the bedroom only for sleep and intimacy

Ayurvedic Approach for Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Dinacharya (Daily Routine)

Following a daily routine that aligns with natural circadian rhythms to maintain a balanced body, mind, and soul.

Benefits of Dinacharya

  • Balances doshas
  • Improves digestion
  • Promotes discipline
  • Enhances peace, happiness, and longevity

Hygiene Practices

  • Cleanse eyes with Triphala or rose water
  • Maintain oral hygiene through brushing, tongue cleaning, and oil pulling
  • Perform Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), yoga, and pranayama (breathing exercises) for energy

Dietary Recommendations

Consume foods that promote sleep, such as:

  • Tart cherry juice and cherries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oily and fatty fish like salmon and tuna
  • Oysters and poultry
  • Milk, cheese, and eggs
  • Breads, beans, and pumpkin seeds

Foods That Help You Sleep

These foods contain components like tryptophan, melatonin, and serotonin, which can aid in promoting sleep.

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