Circadian Misalignment

 

Loss of optimal alignment of the Circadian Clocks and Circadian Rhythms they create alters sleep and performance, increases the risk of major disorders, from cancer to diabetes, impairs mood and accelerates aging .

External Misalignment is

between You and the Environment

 

Your Circadian Clocks tell one time, while the environment indicates a different time.

 

Internal Misalignment is

between You and You

 

Your Circadian Rhythms lose their optimal mutual alignment, while

you lose proper internal coordination of your body functions.

 

 

 

 

Causes of External Misalignment

The most common cause of external misalignment is a transmeridian flight, creating Jet Lag. This is followed by Shift Work involving either night shifts or significant day-to-day, or week-to-week change in work schedules. Stress and chronic disorders can also misalign your Rhythms, but are more likely to induce Internal Misalignment.

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Losing alignment with the Sun

Misalignment between your Internal Clock and Environment can result from Jet Lag, Shift Work, "social jet lag", stress or certain disorders.

 

The so called "social jet lag", which happens when daily schedule is drastically different between the weekends  and work days, can also cause external misalignment.

 

Other types of misalignment with environment can reflect internal conditions, including blindness. 

 

The Health consequences of Misalignment depend largely on whether an External Misalignment turns into an Internal Misalignment. 

internal misalignment my picture

Internal Problems are

Worse than External 

External Misalignment between your Clock and Environment is of a lesser concern than a hidden below massive problem of Internal Misalignment of your numerous internal body Rhythms with each other. 

How Internal Alignment can turn into Misalignment

 

Under normal conditions, all your Rhythms are following the Sun. They are synchronized with the 24-h light-dark cycle.

 

alignment cross

 

They also follow a certain Optimal Alignment Pattern, defining who does what when. Some Rhythms, like Sleep or melatonin production, peak at night. Other, like Food intake or Cognitive performance, peak during the day.

 

Having optimal alignment benefits each and all the Rhythms, and coordinates all your body functions the right way, to preserve health, sleep and performance.  

Internal Misalignment happens when one or several Rhythms change their position in the Alignment Pattern.  They could remain synchronized with other Rhythms, keeping the same 24h Period, but their peak time is displaced.

 

misalignment cross

 

For instance, the peak of your Metabolic Rhythm might shift to the night period. As a result, you would not be that hungry during the day, but would wake up at night ready for a good meal. Those who suffer from the Night-Eating Syndrome (NES) experience exactly that. 

Desynchrony leads to Misalignment

 

A more complex case of Internal Misalignment is when the Period of one or several circadian Rhythms changes, losing synchrony with other Rhythms and the Sun. Such desynchronized Rhythm would be gradually shifting its position relative to other body Rhythms, creating constant change of the Alignment Pattern.

 

For example, your Metabolic Rhythm acquires a Period of 25h, while the rest of your body is on the 24h Period. The time when your energy peaks would be delayed by 1h every day.

 

As a result, on some days, your metabolism would supply enough energy for your daytime workout or cognitive performance. Yet, on other days, it would pump all that energy at night, while you are trying to sleep. Hence, not only the metabolism but your other body functions would suffer.

Typically, Jet Lag is a combination of Desynchrony and Misalignment

 

Frequent Jet Lag can be especially damaging,

since ripples of one misalignment overlap with another.

This confuses Circadian Clocks and interferes with all the body functions,

jeopardizing health and accelerating aging.

 

 

ClockCoach is here to help!