Summer is often filled with late nights and sleeping in, often leading to sleep schedules being thrown out the window. September signals the start of school and a new routine, getting your sleep back on track can help make this transition much smoother. Below are a few tips to help you set yourself up for success with an improved sleep routine.
Circadian rhythm is your body’s 24-hour internal clock and helps control when you’re sleepy or energized, also known as your sleep-wake cycle. Your circadian rhythm is always “ticking” away, it can start to get out of sync when your sleep routine is thrown off from things such as staying up late, shift work, and even medications.
If you feel sluggish throughout the day, have trouble falling asleep, or wake up not feeling rested it may be time to reset your circadian rhythm.
Ways to reset circadian rhythm.
Light exposure – Getting outside into direct sun as early as possible helps to cue your body it’s time to be awake! Natural light exposure is the most effective way to shift your body’s sleep-wake cycle earlier. Step outside into the sun for at least 10 minutes if you’re getting sun through a window or it’s overcast aim for at least 15-20 minutes.
Being exposed to sunlight, or artificial light, during the day helps to make you less sensitive to light at night. However, try and dim the lights and avoid blue light (from screens such as phones at tv’s) at least 90-minutes before bed. Light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin – one of the main hormones responsible for making you sleepy.
Shift sleep and wake times gradually – When adjusting your bedtime, earlier or later, do so gradually. Adjust by 15-30 minutes every few days to allow your circadian rhythm to keep up with the changes.
Create a calming bedtime routine – Helping your body to realize it’s time for bed can be a huge help. As stated above, turn down lights and turn off screens 90 minutes before bed, choose an activity to help calm your nervous system. This could be skin care, a warm bath, journaling, or calming movement such as yoga. Get into bed 30 minutes before you’d like to be asleep.
Exercise during the day – Studies have shown exercising during the day can help to shift circadian rhythm earlier. Avoid intense workouts within an hour of bedtime as this can keep you up.
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If you have questions on ways to reset your sleep routine, contact one of our Health & Fitness professionals today at firstname.lastname@example.org