Circadian Rhythms, Hormones & Neurotransmitters

Braun thermometerNeurotransmitters and hormones are intimately connected. The effects of their relationship on the body/mind are termed neuroendocrine. One cycle in the body that represents this relationship is called the Circadian Rhythm Cycle. It represents the body/mind’s responses to a 24 hour light/dark cycle.


Why is the Circadian Rhythm Cycle Important to Your Health?

This cycle directly affects your body’s physiology such as when your blood pressure is most likely to be highest, or when your temperature is most likely to be lowest in the 24 hour cycle. It affects when sleep comes most naturally, and when you are most likely to have the fastest reaction times, greatest cardiovascular efficiency, and greatest muscle strength. There is an optimal circadian rhythm for the human body.  When that rhythm is disrupted our health is challenged.


Why are More and More People Having Challenges with Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian rhythm disorders have become common in our modern day environment due to overexposure to artificial lighting, computer use at night, prolonged stress, and irregular sleep patterns. As a result, Melatonin, Testosterone, Cortisol and other hormones often become disrupted.


How Can You Determine Your Circadian Rhythm?

One easy way you can discover if your circadian rhythm is disrupted is to take your temperature during the day time hours. Do this for at least 4 days to see if there is a pattern. I ask all my integrated patients to perform this home test since it gives such valuable information. If you have a typical work schedule, record two days off and two days on work, preferably four days in a row.

Take your temperature about 5X during the day, equidistant if possible. Start with your first morning temperature just after getting up, before you brush your teeth or drink water, and ending just before you go to bed. Make sure to have one of your temperatures taken between 4PM and 7PM.


Do You have Circadian Rhythm Disruption?

Your first morning oral temperature should be 97.7 to 98.3 degrees. As the day goes on, your temperature should rise upwards to 98.3 or 98.9 degrees. If you are taking an axillary (arm pit temp) the numbers will be lower by a few tenths of a degree. If you are taking your temperature in your ear, the numbers will be higher by a few tenths of a degree.

The overall level of your temperature should give you an idea of how your thyroid is doing. (Too low, hypothyroid). To determine whether you have adequate circadian rhythm you should see an increase of one half of a degree up to a full degree shift from the temperature taken in the morning to that taken between 4PM and 7PM. If your temperatures are “flat” or inverse, actually going down during the 4PM to 7PM testing, your circadian rhythm is disrupted.

Have fun checking your levels of circadian rhythm!

About Dr. Pat

I am a practicing natural health care physician and educator committed to helping others overcome pain and suffering, restore function, and lead healthier, happier, longer, and more spiritually fulfilled lives.

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