How To Reset Your Internal Clock
Are you spending your nights binging Netflix, staying awake until 4 AM, when you know you have to wake up at 7 the next day? Or, do you often find yourself lying awake at night, tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep? It sounds like your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is off. Your circadian rhythm regulates your sleep/wake cycle, which makes you feel tired and awake, usually around the same time every day. Many things can disrupt your sleep/wake cycle, including alternating bedtimes, consumption of caffeine, and even exposure to sunlight. Keep reading to find out how to avoid sleepless nights and get your body used to bedtime.
Melatonin Is Your Friend
Melatonin is a hormone that when released in your brain, you begin to feel tired. Often, when your circadian rhythm is not in sync with nightfall, your melatonin levels are still high and it may feel impossible to fall asleep. One way to increase your melatonin levels is to take a supplement. Sleep supplements should have at least 6 mg of melatonin per serving, as well as natural calming ingredients such as passionflower extract and valerian. You can take a supplement at least an hour before bed, and soon your brain will learn when to release the proper amount of melatonin during the time you want to go to sleep. To find reviews and comparisons of different sleep supplements, you can look on Reviewy to determine the best kind of supplement for your needs.
Lower the Lights
Did you know sunlight and darkness also impact your sleep/wake cycle? Your brain receives a signal from your eyes throughout the day, and it releases melatonin as it gets darker. Therefore, when you’re spending time staring at your cell phone or watching TV, your brain isn’t getting the signal to release melatonin. Even the lights in your home are causing you to stay up late. So, turn off your iPad and phone at least an hour before bed, and lower the lights in your house so your body can wind down and get ready for sleep. There have been studies showing that after two hours of exposure to bright LED screens, your internal clock is effected and it can delay you falling asleep for several hours. So, turn your e-readers on the lowest screen lighting and dim your lights so you can fall asleep on time.
Switch to Decaf
This is nothing new: caffeine keeps you awake. That’s why most people drink it in the morning. But, indulging in coffee, soda or black tea throughout the day keeps your heart beating fast and unfortunately, the caffeine in your system for up to six hours. Switch to decaf and avoid sweet, sugary drinks in the afternoon. You can get lasting energy from healthy snacks like oatmeal or greek yogurt and a sprinkle of blueberries. If you’re suffering from insomnia, where you can’t fall asleep or sleep deeply, consider cutting out caffeine from your diet entirely. Then, instead of relying on a substance to wake you up in the morning, your body will naturally adjust itself with the help of natural sunlight.
Remember: It Takes Time
Now that you know three methods to reset your sleep/wake cycle, don’t expect it to work right away. Especially if you’re trying to quit caffeine, it might take over a week to shake your addiction and no longer need the boost that caffeine provides in the morning. Don’t be afraid to take a melatonin supplement to remind your brain that it’s time for bed, and prepare your house when you’re ready for sleep by dimming the lights and turning off any bright LED screens that are keeping you awake. These tricks will turn into habits soon enough, and you’ll be able to fall asleep without a struggle.
This is a collaborative post.