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Your Circadian Rhythm: What It Is And Why It Matters




If you’ve ever read anything about how using your cell phone can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep or wondered why you get jet lagged when you travel, then you’ve spent at least a little time thinking about circadian rhythms. But what exactly are circadian rhythms, and why are they so important? It’s a big question with a lot to unpack.

Your Body’s Clock

A common way that scientists and writers describe your circadian rhythms is as your body’s internal or biological clock, and this is a good, basic description. Circadian rhythms consist of the many different bodily patterns that are tied to a 24-hour daily cycle

These are physical, mental, and even behavioral, and different organ systems have their own unique expressions of these cycles. These shifts, which are largely regulated by exposure to light, especially sunlight, are most notable to the individual as hunger signals and digestion, body temperature, and alertness or fatigue.

Circadian Rhythm Disruptions

Another important factor everyone should understand about circadian rhythms is that their disruption by outside forces can lead to serious health problems. Now, a few nights of fatigue due to jet lag aren’t serious, of course, but in the long-term, dysregulation can lead to serious illnesses. And conversely, disruptions in circadian rhythms can be a sign of an underlying disorder.

As the most outwardly obvious sign of your circadian rhythms daily progression, sleep may be the most widely researched of the daily biological cycles. For example, researchers have looked carefully at sleep apnea as a cause of serious health problems

Sleep apnea can be obstructive – meaning it’s caused by a physical blockage – or central – meaning the brain doesn’t send the signal to breathe during sleep; but in either case, it can prevent people from experiencing restful sleep, leading to significant health problems, including daytime sleepiness, problems with appetite regulation, and even an increased risk of heart disease and obesity.

Circadian Rhythms And Neurodegeneration

One of the most significant recent discoveries of note regarding circadian rhythms is the link between circadian rhythm dysfunction and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. In a study supported by the Brain Research Foundation, Dr. Ravi Allada explored the function of the circadian clock gene in fruit fly models, specifically examining its neuroprotective role. When there is a mutation in this gene, his lab concluded, the body is less able to protect itself against neurodegeneration.

Circadian Rhythms And Cancer

Another emerging area of research related to circadian rhythms is in regard to cancer risk. When the body’s normal rhythms, which include those involved in immune system function, are no longer working properly, it’s more likely that normal cellular repair systems will fail. This can lead to dangerous mutations; the body may also be less able to naturally kill cancer cells when there is a circadian rhythm disorder present.

There are many different illnesses directly and indirectly linked to circadian rhythm disorders, and work addressing these issues is still in the early stages. What has become clear, however, is that the more we know about our vital internal rhythms and how to maintain them, the better equipped we are to protect our overall health.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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What Interferes with Successful Breastfeeding?




While breastfeeding is ideal, it comes with many difficulties new parents might face.

After experiencing the intensity of labor and delivery, many new parents are left exhausted. Despite this fatigue and surviving pospartum, new parents soon learn the importance of managing the needs of an infant. Putting aside their own desires, parents learn to quickly adapt.

Exhaustion and recovery are not the only things that discourage parents from breastfeeding. There are a variety of other woes that can make it difficult for a lactating parent to continue to choose this option. 

While 83 percent of women breastfeed at the beginning of postpartum, there is a drastic reduction by 6 months, resulting in only 56% of babies still being breastfed. 

Engorged Breasts

When a lactating woman’s milk comes in, she may experience intense pain and discomfort. The breasts typically become overly filled with milk because they have not yet regulated their supply. This engorgement can continue throughout the breastfeeding journey for a variety of reasons.

If the baby’s schedule changes, a woman’s breasts can become overly full. If the parent misses a feeding, breasts can experience discomfor which can lead to breastfeeding infection. If a woman becomes preoccupied at work and does not make time to pump, she can experience discomfort. 

If breast engorgement is not treated properly, milk ducts can become blocked, and if a woman does not work to move the milk through her breasts (via feeding her baby, pumping, or expressing the milk), this engorgement can lead to further problems and may cause clogged milk ducts.


One of the biggest concerns beyond the pain a woman experiences with engorgement is infection. This is known as mastitis, and leads to a woman experiencing not only breast pain and warm breast tissue, but also flu-like symptoms that come with fever, chills, headache, and further exhaustion.

In order to help prevent infection, regular feedings are essential. Often, the best mastitis treatment, at least for early symptoms, is to massage the breast in a warm shower and express the extra milk.

Furthermore, by working with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), parents can have a great resource on how to best deal with, treat, and alleviate these problems. 

Not only is an IBCLC a great resource in helping prevent breast infection, but a great source for your breastfeeding journey to encourage and educate you in best practices. 

The best way to achieve breastfeeding success is to utilize the many tools that an IBCLC offers. 


To exclusively breastfeed your baby can be quite overwhelming and exhausting. Between nightly feedings, cluster feedings, and pumping sessions for working mothers, breastfeeding is difficult to maintain. Unless a woman is properly supported by her family, friends, and workplace, the chances that a woman will continue to breastfeed are significantly impacted.

Culture also impacts the likelihood of a baby being breastfed beyond 6 months. The CDC discovered that parents in the Southeast United States are less likely to breastfeed their children past six months. This was in contrast to the Northwest, where business policies and the culture is more breastfeeding-friendly and supportive. 


Despite the nutritional benefits afforded to a breastfed baby, there are many obstacles that can be discouraging for parents on their breastfeeding journey. From exhaustion to pain to lack of supoort, parents have many reasons to give up. 

To increase your chances of success, surround yourself with supportive individuals, reach out to an IBCLC, also known as lactation consultants, and gain the necessary tools required to provide your child with the healthiest option available – you!

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