Your circadian rhythm is an ingrained biological clock that regulates the timing periods of tiredness and wakefulness throughout the day. Your body clock is calibrated by the appearance and disappearance of natural light in a 24-hour period. The term circadian is derived from the Latin "circa diem" meaning "approximately a day."
The functions of your circadian rhythm are based in the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. Within the hypothalamus are a group of cells known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is connected to our optic nerves that sense changes in light. The SCN is also responsible for regulating many body functions that revolve around the 24-hour cycle including: body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of hormones such as melatonin which helps us with sleep.
Shift work is defined as schedules outside the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. Roughly 15 percent of full-time U.S. employees work on shifts outside this traditional schedule. For many, shift work is part of the job as service occupations like healthcare professionals and protective services are needed 365 days a year 24 hours a day.
We all think our own children are the brightest and only want the best for them in their intellectual and academic success. But who would have thought that something as simple as their cute little snore at night could be the reason they struggle behind in school and misbehave at times?
Despite much research, how sleep, ADHD, medication and other disorders are related remains uncertain. Scientists are working to develop a clearer idea how the different regions of the brain interact and overlap for attention, sleep and functioning.