With daylight hours slowly getting longer, you may notice getting up in the mornings becoming easier. The body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, relies heavily on daylight for regulation. Circadian rhythm is responsible for controlling many bodily functions, the biggest being our sleep and wake cycles. With the sun rising later in the day and setting early in the evening, the body can become confused leading to less-than-ideal sleeping patterns and in some cases, chronic sleep loss.
Here are 7 benefits of sleep, and 7 tips to get the best quality sleep, and to help regulate circadian rhythm. These tips are helpful all year long, however, they will have the biggest impact during the winter, when daylight is cut short.
1. Increased immune function.
2. Helps to regulate hormones.
3. Helps with weight management.
4. Lowers risks of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
5. Lowers stress levels, and cortisol, and can improve mood.
6. Increased focus and memory.
7. Increased recovery, such as from injuries or a hard workout.
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Go to bed and wake up within 1 hour of the same time daily, which helps regulate circadian rhythm.
2. Avoid stimulating substances – Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all impact sleep, especially when used close to bedtime. Caffeine should be avoided 6 hours minimum before sleeping.
3. Create a pre-bedtime routine – Creating a routine can help the brain recognize it is bedtime and start winding down. Ensuring this routine is relaxing is key. Some examples are: Taking a bath or shower, listening to a meditation podcast, reading, and journaling in a quiet space.
4. Cooler Temperature – The optimal sleeping temperature for adults is between 60 and 68° F. This range of temperature is thought to help facilitate the stability of REM sleep.
5. Exercising regularly – Regular exercise helps keep routine and improve sleeping habits. Try not to exercise within an hour of bedtime as endorphins will often keep you awake.
6. Balanced diet – A healthy, balanced diet gives vital nutrients the body needs to help regulate multiple functions including sleep.
7. Direct exposure to sunlight – Get outside and into the sun as early as possible every day, for at least 10 minutes. This helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and keeps you awake and alert until the evening when it is time to wind down. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, even in the winter!
How much sleep do you need?
The average adult needs 7-10 hours of good-quality sleep. If you sleep the recommended amount yet still wake up tired and feeling unrested, and you’ve tried our tips, it may be time to talk with your doctor!
If you have questions or want more tips on sleep, contact one of our Health & Fitness professionals today at email@example.com