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Ultradian rhythm


All of us have heard of the term called Circadian rhythm which regulates our internal body clock and manages the daily cycle which maintains our wakefulness during the day and sleepiness during the night. This Circadian rhythm is the cause of getting up in the morning and sleeping at the night.

There is another cycle or rhythm known as Ultradian Rhythm. Circadian rhythm occurs once a day, the Ultradian Rhythm occurs multiple times a day. This rhythm is shown to control the ‘hemispheric dominance' within the brain.

Anatomy behind Ultradian Cycle

The two hemispheres of the brain caters to different functions. Although their clear split of functions is not known, they still have some well defined functions. Some of the functions of the left hemisphere is to control logical thought and communication and the right hemisphere controls the relaxation, dreaming, hypnosis, etc. If you are not too stressed, after getting out of bed in the morning you will have 90-120 minutes of high focus and then a slack time of 20 minutes. During this 20 minutes, you will experience difficulty in concentrating. You might feel lousy and this is the time when people take break, take a coffee or they take a smoke. It is better for us to listen to the brain and do what it wants to do rather than force it to do the opposite.
So Ultradian Rhythm is any biological process that displays 90-120 minute brain wave frequency cycles. It happens both while awake as well as while sleeping.

Importance of Ultradian and Circadian cycles

The circadian and Ultradian rhythms controls both waking and sleeping behaviour. There are lot of communications which happens between the brain and rest of the body which cal tell the SCN that it is day time or night time – whether it is time to wake up and function accordingly or it is time to sleep and relax.

Both the circadian and Ultradian rhythm are important since they regulates all sorts of things like hormone secretion, brain wave frequencies, blood flows, brain hemisphere dominance, etc. In the absence of these cycles, the brain homeostatic functions will not work properly and the parts of the body will become out of sync.

There is a phenomenon called Ultradian Shift where the person’s Ultradian rhythm shifts forward as they stay awake longer.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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